Mother-Daughter duo compete for love, life and inclusivity
(January 25, 2023) “Everything is difficult until it becomes easy,” said Liz Lopez, who swam, biked, and ran in the Alpha Win Sarasota Triathlon with her daughter Summer with a clear mission in mind: to encourage people to drive safely. Liz has always had a passion for running, and in late December 2015 her daughter expressed interest in training with her. However, that New Year’s day, Summer was in a car accident, leaving her unable to run or compete on her own.
While Summer was in the hospital, her mother continued to run as a way to relieve her anxiety and bring only positive energy to her daughter when she visited. Liz feels it had a tremendous impact as Summer’s strength only continued to grow; when Summer was discharged from the hospital, Liz started training with her. They completed their first Sprint triathlon together in August of 2021; one triathlon became two, and soon enough they were completing Olympic events together.
“For the determination,” Liz explained, “you have to find that within yourself to keep going, because you will see the changes in them, and for them, you will want to keep going.” After competing together for two years, Liz has already seen impressive changes in Summer, from being more vocal to showing a deep enthusiasm for the sport. Their next goal? To take on the 70.3, and one day the 140.6, distance. They hope to promote safety and inclusivity in the sport and inspire others in a similar position to take the leap and train for their first triathlon.
Liz’s sentiments on self-determination were certainly apparent to athletes as they crossed the finish line after the 2023 Alpha Win Sarasota Triathlon. Athletes from across the state and country joined together at Nathan Benderson Park on January 8, 2023 for a day full of great racing. The park boasts a 400-acre man-made lake, along with a beautiful trail circling the 600-acre park, making it one of the best triathlon venues in the U.S. With sunny, clear skies and temperatures in the high 60s, it was perfect weather for personal records and plenty of spectators to gather.
The weekend began on Saturday at local bike shop Ryder Bikes, where athletes were invited to pick up their packet and attend an athlete meeting with the race director. Race day led off with the Half distance at 8:00 am, followed by the Sprint and Olympic distances. The event also marked the inauguration of the Sprint Duathlon option for athletes. With a run-bike-run format, the Duathlon is a great option for newbies and experienced athletes alike. Mark Witmer kept his lead throughout the race, coming in first for men at 01:04:35, while Kristin Woodward took first for women at 01:18:42.
Jordan Taylor led off the Sprint Triathlon pack with a finish time of 01:10:35, coming in first overall for the men. Emily Davis took first for women overall in the Sprint category, finishing with a time of 01:21:45. The Olympic distance had impressive overall winners as well, with Emily Machiela coming in first for the women at 02:33:45, and William Thompson taking first for men at 02:06:34. Tanya Zucco finished first with over an hour lead for the women in the Half distance at 04:59:23.
To support Summer and Liz on their journey, visit their GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/s6q3yk-summer-levantate. View the full list of results on Race Results at my.raceresult.com/229700/results. To register for the 2024 Sarasota Triathlon visit alpha.win/event/sarasota-fl/, or to check out other Alpha Win races, go to www.Alpha.Win.
Join Alpha Win at their next event in Ocala, Florida! Register for the Ocala Triathlon at alpha.win/event/ocala-fl/ using the code RACEOCALA for 10% off your registration, from now until Valentine’s Day.
About Alpha Win
Alpha Win is a triathlon and running event operator based in Saugerties, New York. Since its founding in 2011, Alpha Win has produced more than 135 triathlons and running races all over the United States. Alpha Win’s Vision is simply reflected in their motto since 2011, “A Distance for Everyone” and is achieved by producing multiple race distances in desirable destinations that are geared to each participant’s unique level of training, endurance capacity and personal goals. Alpha Win is dedicated to providing the professional quality of a national event producer while delivering the personalized service of a local race organizer. Visit www.Alpha.Win for more information.