In 2004 Kris Kolstad knew something was wrong. An avid biker, Kris had been racing for years. One day he started to notice that his training was suffering. He’d experience shortness of breath which was forcing him to cut his workouts short. At the time he attributed the problem to getting older.
Without warning in March 2005, Kris became to feel sick. At first he thought it was a bad cold. He had a cough, headache, fever and difficulty breathing. He ended up in the emergency room with a 103.8 degree fever. The doctors ran a few tests and that was when he learned he’d soon be fighting the battle of a lifetime. He had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and spent several months undergoing chemo and radiation treatments. Today he is a survivor. After his battle with cancer he knew he wanted to do something to give back.
It was in that spirit that in 2008 Kris and his wife Joann began talking to Bill and Roxanne Lorenz about the idea of a club that would help raise awareness of the deadly disease. Like Kris, Bill had experience with cancer, too. He wanted to find a way to honor his sister who lost her fight with melanoma in 2006. In 2009 TRI4EVR the Triathlon and Running Club was born.
The club is open to anyone—beginners and experienced marathoners alike—of any age. TRI4EVR has members as young as seven to those 70-plus. They come from many areas in the region—Willmar, Spicer, New London, Benson and Kerkhoven. The group’s members meet every week to run, bike and swim. Members can take part in any of the activities that interest them. Some train together year-round. Many have joined, paying the $25 membership fee—all of which goes to the Willmar Regional Cancer Center — because they want to raise awareness of the deadly disease and to support family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others with cancer.
“My only wish is to give others hope that cancer is beatable. I was given another chance at life. My purpose was to begin giving something back after I was given another chance at life,” said Kris Kolstad.