Tackling a triathlon

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Deputy mayor training and fundraising

Naugatuck Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi trains for a marathon last September. After checking a marathon off her list, she now has her sights set on the Pat Griskus Triathlon and is raising money for the Whittemore Library. –RA ARCHIVE
Naugatuck Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi trains for a marathon last September. After checking a marathon off her list, she now has her sights set on the Pat Griskus Triathlon and is raising money for the Whittemore Library. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — A year after running a marathon to raise money for the Naugatuck Ecumenical Food Bank, Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi has set her sights on a new challenge.

On June 15 Rossi will swim, bike, and run her way through the Pat Griskus Triathlon in Middlebury.

“I just ran my first marathon and wanted to do something that would be a challenge,” Rossi said about her reason for participating in the triathlon. “When I realized how scared I was of swimming, I knew it would be a great challenge.”

The Pat Griskus Triathlon is an Olympic length triathlon, which means a 10K run, a 25 mile bike ride and a mile long swim.
While training for the triathlon

Rossi’s training for the triathlon includes running between five and 10 miles, biking from her house in Naugatuck to the race course, riding the race course, then biking back home, and swimming 2,000 to 4,000 yards at a time.

“I’ve gone from barely being able to swim across pool to swimming over a mile and over two miles,” Rossi said.

Completing her first triathlon isn’t Rossi’s only goal, however.

“I’ve been in the situation before that I thought here’s a personal goal, how can I take a selfish milestone and have it benefit the community,” Rossi said.

Rossi is also raising money for the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library.

“I was trying to think of an organization that would be far reaching and have an impact on community,” Rossi said.

Rossi said more and more people are relying on the resources that the library provides, especially during these difficult economic times.

“The library is such an interregnal part of our community and so many people use it,” Rossi said.

Gina Owens, publicity director for the Whittemore Library, said the money will be used to purchase foreign language books and English as a second language learning material.

“It’s a resource that, right now, is very limited due to the fact that we hardly have anything,” Owens said. “With new populations coming into the area all the time people are looking for ways to instruct themselves in the English language.”

Owens said the library also wants to be able to provide patrons the ability to read books in their native languages. The library has a large number of patrons who speak Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian, but does not have many books to offer in those languages.

“Books in foreign languages are few and far between,” Owens said. “We want to make that available to our patrons.”

Owens said staff at the library was very happy to learn the Rossi would be raising funds for the library.

“We’re really grateful and we’re really pleased that people are responding to and recognizing how valuable the library is to the community,” Owens said.

While looking for donations, Rossi said that people don’t have to give a lot of money, but if a lot of people donate some money, it will add up.

“These days people do not have a lot of money to donate and more and more organizations are hurting and looking for support. $5 is a minimal amount, but if enough people donate just $5, then we can make a huge gift to the library. I have been astounded by the incredible generosity of our community and am hoping they will consider this cause,” Rossi said.

Rossi is offering sponsorships on her triathlon shorts and shirt. Any individual, business, or civic organization that contributes $100 or more will have their name on Rossi’s triathlon suit that she will wear on the day of the race, the press release said.

These contributions must be handed in at the library by Monday, June 3.

All other donations will be accepted until July 1.

Checks should be made out to Whittemore Library with “Rossi Tri” written in memo line. Donations may be dropped off or mailed to Library Director Jocelyn Miller, Howard Whittemore Library, 243 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770.

Rossi said going out for the triathlon has been a great way to both push herself and help her community at the same time.

“I love a challenge and this has definitely been an incredible challenge,” Rossi said. “The icing on the cake for all of this for me though is that we can fundraise for the library and get them things they wouldn’t otherwise have.”