Run, Baby Run: It’s your life, it’s your business

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By Eloise Vitelli
As printed in the Bangor Daily News
Entrepreneurs are known for their optimism and can-do attitudes. They see the possibilities and focus their energies on how to get to the goal line. Sometimes though, even the most positive, creative person can be dealt a blow that shakes their confidence and sets them on a different course.
Julie Marchese is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2004, and as part of her own road to recovery, Julie determined that she had to “challenge myself with something I had never done before.”
Though she hadn’t done much biking, swimming or running since her early teens, she participated in her first All Women’s Triathlon in Massachusetts in 2005.
“I was blown away by the experience, and came back to Maine wishing there was one here,” she said.
There wasn’t, so she founded and organized Tri for a Cure, raising $225,000 for the Maine Cancer Foundation in the first year, 2008.
Julie, who calls herself “chief inspiration officer,” now has her own event planning consulting company, Inspired Events, and organizes seven races for charity groups around the state. She is already hard at work putting together the second REV3 sheJAMs Triathlon, scheduled for Aug. 25 in Old Orchard Beach.
A race within a race, REV3 sheJAMs Triathlon is just for women and is the “charity arm” of the larger, nationally organized Rev3Tri. Together, the events are expected to draw about 1,500 participants.
As a fundraiser, sheJAMs runners, bikers and swimmers are expected to raise a minimum of $100 per person (entrants can do all three events or enter as a relay team of two or three); at a minimum, the 300 sheJAMs entrants will end up with $30,000 for nonprofit beneficiaries. This year, sheJAMs participants will be raising funds for two Maine groups: Women, Work, and Community and Girls on the Run-Maine.
For Julie, sheJAMs was a natural outgrowth of the growing enthusiasm among active women for staying healthy, giving back to the community and supporting each other.
Women “who run in these races are not athletes in the sense -– they are mothers, businesswomen, women in our community. They are strong and they do this for them!” Julie says.
SheJAMs offers training/coaching sessions to help women prepare and train to their own personal best. That coaching is what brought Sarah Halpin, a certified financial planner and vice president with The Danforth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors to sheJAMs.
After nearly 20 years of devoting herself to building a business in the competitive world of financial advising and raising a family, Sarah found herself at a familiar transition point: An emptying nest and a solid career meant it was finally time to focus on her personal needs and desires.
As with any new venture, Sarah gave herself a clear goal and timetable -– she would enter the Polar Bear Tri, which was eight months away — and set about planning, preparing and measuring her progress, one mile marker at a time.
While admitting nervousness as she approached that first starting line, the feeling of achievement at the end, “that I did something I wasn’t totally sure I could,” is a feeling she knew she wanted to find again. She participated in the first REV3 sheJAMs Triathlon and this year is one of the event’s sponsors.
For Sarah, Julie and more than 200 other women who are part of the sheJAMs network, the mental fitness is as important as the physical fitness. The benefits carry over into other parts of one’s life.
“I deal with pressure and challenges in my career better now. It’s all about attitude,” Sarah says.
That can-do attitude is the hallmark of the entrepreneur.
For information on participating in this year’s REV3 sheJAMs Triathlon event as an individual, relay team, volunteer or donor, go to www.sheJAMstri.com.