Back in the day, no one was really sure Missy Flynn would even be here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a race held in her honor.
So severe was her life-threatening brain aneurysm injury on Dec. 23, 2005 that doctors couldn’t promise anything.
But here she is, 13 years later, living as close to a full life as one could possibly expect with the loyal aid of her life partner, Brian Wong.
Flynn, a former world-class triathlete from Newtown, is beloved both by those who know her and those who know of her.
She’s been at the Bucks County Duathlon for virtually all of its first nine years and plans to be there again when athletes toe the line on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Flynn will be cheering on those who once raced with her. She will be assisting at the awards ceremony, renewing old acquaintances and watching her closest friends perhaps shed a tear or two.
The BCD has raised approximately $100,000 for Flynn and the Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center (including its early years when it was called Race for Missy).
Wong is thankful for the financial aid but equally appreciative of the support shown by those in the Bucks County athletic community and beyond.
“I’m so glad to mark this 10-year milestone,’’ Wong said. “It reminds me that we’re still doing well after all this time – which is not a given with Missy’s condition – and that our friends and supporters have helped us get here.
“The Bucks County Duathlon is a great reminder of how people have come together to help us in ways big and small, and all important to keep us going.’’
BCD co-race director Harry Betz owns and operates Newtown Bike Shop, which serves as BCD headquarters for registration and packet pickup.
Betz was instrumental incorporating the new “8K Challenge’’ into last year’s event and is always looking for new ways to improve and expand the only multi-sport race based in Lower Bucks County.
“It’s been 10 years of raising money for some great causes, 10 years of orchestrating an event that makes lots of people happy and 10 years of giving folks a goal to work toward,’’ Betz said.
“It’s gratifying to see the diverse crowd that we draw from, from the elite to the first-timer and everything in between. The Bucks County Duathlon and 8K challenge is truly an event for any athlete.’’
Race volunteer Dave Anderson sees first-hand what the BCD means to the multi-sport community.
“This event is unique in a couple of ways,’’ Anderson said. “First, its sustainability. Not many other events, pulling together people to meet an emergency need, last for 10 years.
“Second would be how much this event helps to define the cross-river running community. Some belong to the Bucks County Road Runners, others to the Mercer County (New Jersey)-based Mercer-Bucks Running Club. At this event, community members come together in a joint effort that gives the community an identity, and by extension gives volunteers the opportunity to identify with something bigger than themselves, the effort to help a fellow runner/biker in need.’’
Added long-time race volunteer Ron Jones: “Besides raising money year after year for a very worthy cause, I have been impressed by the energy and dedication that the volunteers exhibit to provide a well-run duathlon. If anyone is interested in competing in a professionally-organized event and contributing to worthwhile causes, this is the one.’’
MaryAnn Connor, a long-time friend of Flynn and Wong, has both volunteered and competed in the BCD and marvels at its continued popularity.
“The best thing about this event is knowing the money is going to support Missy,’’ Connor said. “It allows everyone who participates in the race, volunteers and even the spectators to learn about the gift of giving. It allows us to be grateful for what we are able to do and what others do when they face a loss and how they move forward.’’
Registration for the BCD is now open. Visit www.buckscountyduathlon.org.
Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series Staggered Start 4.6-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com/winterseries.