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Portland Kids Duathlon donates $8k to PPS

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Portland Kids Duathlon donates $8k to PPS
Posted on 09/09/2020
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At a Sept. 9 ceremony, organizers of the 2020 virtual Portland Kids Duathlon presented an $8,000 check to Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana and Andrea Weisman-Summers, Executive Director for the Foundation for Portland Public Schools (FPPS), for the COVID-related needs of students, families and educators. Race sponsors Hammond Lumber and CycleMania also donated equipment for East End Community School bike club.

In its third year, the Portland Kids Duathlon, presented by Benchmark Real Estate, has raised a total of $23,000 for FPPS.

According to Weisman-Summers, this year’s funds will be used to support students and educators with COVID-related needs. “These include things like innovation grants to educators, extra academic support for students, providing no cost meals to supplement the federal free lunch and breakfast program, and urgent support to families in crisis,” she said.

Botana said, “Thank you to Benchmark Real Estate for your commitment to Portland kids. The Portland Kids Duathlon is a wonderful event that benefits kids in two ways: It gives them a fun opportunity to participate in multisport racing, and the race’s proceeds are generously donated each year to benefit students in the Portland Public Schools. This contribution to the Foundation will help ensure that our students and their families don’t go hungry or become homeless, and that they get the academic support and innovative teaching that can help them succeed.”

While many kids and adult races canceled in 2020, Race Director Amy Landry chose to move forward. “More than ever, the schools needed the funds, the kids needed something to look forward to, the families needed a sense of normalcy, and everyone needed to continue habits to keep us as healthy as possible,” she said. “Our sponsors stuck with us and we were thrilled with the outpouring of support from our athletes and families despite moving to virtual.”

She said she was pleased that even in a pandemic, the race raised 80 percent of what it did at last year’s live event and had 92 virtual participants.

Hammond Lumber, CycleMania and Benchmark also donated equipment for the East End Community School Bike Club. When Landry learned the club was in need of a place to store and protect their bikes and equipment, she reached out to race sponsor Hammond Lumber who agreed to donate a large, new shed. CycleMania donated a new bike and Benchmark donated a helmet and bike lock to go with it.

Dan Nogar, Dean of Students at the school and bike club coordinator, said he’s always looking for donated bikes, helmets, and locks as many of his students come from families unable to purchase them.

“The donations to the East End Community School’s bike club will help encourage students to take up that healthy sport – and maybe participate in future Duathlons,” Botana said.

Landry said she plans to give a number of free spots to the 2021 race to bike club members and offered to run duathlon training sessions for the bike club next spring.

A local triathlete, Landry founded the event to give kids the same race experience as their parents and to raise money to support Portland’s schools. This year, 92 kids from across Maine and New Hampshire participated. Many can be seen in the post-race video with photos and footage sent in by parents. Landry shipped medals, race bibs, t-shirts and swag from sponsors ahead of time so families could recreate the race together on their own. She held a city-approved, in-person packet pick-up on the scheduled race day where kids could still get their professional photos taken on the podium.

The race is presented by Benchmark Real Estate, owned by Landry and her husband Tom. The company donates all race proceeds to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools, which provides philanthropic support to the Portland Public Schools.

The next Portland Kids Duathlon will be held on July 25, 2021 at Payson Park in Portland.

PHOTO: (From left) Amy Landry, Race Director, Portland Kids Duathlon; Xavier Botana, Superintendent of Portland Public Schools; Tom Landry, Owner, Benchmark Real Estate; Andrea Weisman-Summers, Executive Director for the Foundation for Portland Schools; and Dan Nogar, Dean of Students at the East End Community School