Triathlon to directly benefit those protecting our borders

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published July 18, 2014

DETROIT — As a border patrol agent working in Detroit, Justin McCormack is well aware of the dangers his job demands.

As a fan and huge supporter of the Motor City, he’s also witness to the power a good deed can have — both near and far.

And that’s the basis for the 2014 Race for the Border triathlon, an idea McCormack hatched months ago that is now about to become a reality.

“Working in this area, working in the parks, one of the things I love to do is bring some positive attention to Detroit — and the border, in particular,” said McCormack, a Troy resident.  “When I got this idea, Belle Isle was still so under-utilized. But now, with what the state has done, I think it’s a great opportunity to get people down here and really let them see some of the cool things Detroit has to offer.”

It’s also for a great cause.

Proceeds from the July 27 event will go to The Roger L. Von Amelunxen Foundation, to help support the families who lost loved ones working as border agents.

Von Amelunxen was a customs patrol officer killed in 1980 while attempting to arrest a robbery suspect in Queens, New York.

Two years after his death, his family started The Roger L. Von Amelunxen Foundation.

According to the foundation’s website, it’s purpose “is to provide financial assistance to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees, and their immediate families nationwide.”

Since its inception, according to the site, the foundation has distributed $5.2 million to customs agents and their families.

“We’re hoping to donate about $5,000,” McCormack explained. “I know that sounds like a lot, but we have big hopes for this race. And I know the foundation appreciates everything they can get.”

At press time, some 100 participants had already registered.

McCormack’s goal is to have that number somewhere close to 300 by race day.

And there are plenty of options for those willing to do so.

A sprint triathlon offers a half-mile swim, a 12-mile bike and a 3.1-mile run, while the super sprint triathlon covers a quarter-mile swim, a six-mile bike and a 1.55-mile run.

A sprint duathlon offers a 3.1-mile run, a 12-mile bike and another 3.1 run for those who don’t want to swim.

There is also the option of a two- or three-person relay team.

The triathlon and duathlon require an $80 registration, while a relay team costs $160.

McCormack said the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as well as the US Navy, are partnering with the event.

“People can make pledges to the MS Society, and the Navy is going to participate in the run,” he added.

Everything gets going at 8 a.m.

“One of the main goals, aside from the foundation, is to bring some positive attention to Detroit,” McCormack said. “What the state has done down here, and the cool things going on, are something people from all over can enjoy.”

For more information on Race for the Border or to register for the event, visit