Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Remembering a passion, not just a pastime |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Remembering a passion, not just a pastime

Morgan Genelin
Special to the Daily

It’s hard to not appreciate the outdoors when you grow up in a beautiful place like the Vail Valley. It is even harder when both your parents are diehard outdoors people who would take every opportunity to be outside doing something active.

There are definitely worse situations, but when you’re 6 years old and have to get up at 4 a.m. to go stand while your mom runs a triathlon because it’s a “family affair,” it seems like the worst situation to find yourself in. My mom was an avid triathlete and my dad an avid mountain biker, hiker, and skier.

All around, it was hard to escape the outdoors with the Genelins. For as long as I can remember, my mom would go running, biking or swimming in the morning to get ready for her next race. When she wasn’t training, she would find any excuse to get outside and be active.

However, in 2007, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Just like that, her racing days, her morning jogs with neighbors, ski days with family, and afternoon hikes all became a memory. Cancer stole her passions away from her. While we could still go out and have our fun, she was longingly watching us from a distance, rather than participating herself.

Although I knew she would rather be participating herself, seeing our family and friends continue to live our lives brought her some joy. My mom lost her battle to cancer in 2008, and in memoriam of the life she led, her closest friends and family planned the first LG Triathlon.

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The triathlon is a way to keep her memory, and more importantly her passion alive. To me, a triathlon is a seemingly never-ending “why am I doing this much cardio” race, but to my mom, it was so much more than that. To her, triathlons were a way to get outside, a way to raise money for various causes, some friendly competition, and a way to participate in something bigger than herself. It was her passion. And that is what we try to embody with the LG Tri.

This triathlon is a way to bring our community together and help those who need it most. We raise money for the Vail Valley Charitable Fund because when our family was dealing with the medical, emotional, and financial turmoil of having a loved one battle cancer, our community and the Vail Valley Charitable Fund were there to help mitigate the blow and to help ease the burden. The help provided through the Vail Valley Charitable Fund is something my family will never take for granted. We knew if we ever got the chance to reciprocate the favor, we would in a heartbeat. The funds raised by the LG Tri go to local families and individuals in need, a way to give back that is very close to our hearts.

If I have to endure my least favorite activity (cardio) to remember the passion my mom had and to feel closer to her, I gladly will. If you want to come join, this year is the 12th annual race, on July 11, 2020. We know it has been a hard time for everyone recently, but your support and help can make someone else’s lasting hardship a little easier. And take it from me — no cause is too small, and no amount of support is too little.

Morgan Genelin is the daughter of Paul and Laura Genelin, for whom the LG Triathlon was named. Morgan serves on the event committee for the annual race that benefits the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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