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Tri-umph Indoor Triathlon Fuels Bone Marrow Registry Sign-Ups

The time was 6:30 a.m. as the first swimmers got into the water for the inaugural Tri-umph Indoor Triathlon at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Northbrook on Sunday, Nov. 15.

It would be the first of six waves of athletes competing in support of Be the Match, the national bone marrow donor registry program. Thanks to the event, there are now 28 more possible bone marrow donors, who could help someone else pursue their dreams with families and friends.

Meanwhile, there was the immediate matter of vying for personal bests in swimming, bicycling and running at the club, 1300 Techny Road.

During the triathlon, the athletes made use of the clubs variety of offerings, including its indoor pool, Keiser stationary bicycles and treadmill.

The athletes all helped motivate each other as they tried to surpass one another, said Kate Schnatterbeck, founder of Tri-Umph, Inc., a Glenview-based multisport training company that has affiliated with Five Seasons. One, Jim Kepka, received a transplant almost three years ago and had a great time. He has truly been bitten by the `tri bug.

A 49-year-old Glenview resident, Kepka was diagnosed in April 2005 with the latest stage of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He went through chemotherapy, experienced a remission of the disease, and then had a recurrence in which chemotherapy again failed. A bone marrow transplant was his only remaining, life-saving option and he received it around Christmas 2006. In one of many inspiring developments.

At the event, Five Seasons member Debbie Hulick signed up on the spot for her first ever triathlon, then told organizers that she is an ovarian cancer survivor.

Sponsors for the event included Start2Finish, owners Mark Payares & Isaac Lund, The Runners Edge, Green Planet, Erehwon, Comcast, SweatVac, Panera, Sunset, Road ID, and Hammer.

For more information, including how to be a donor or how to contribute in another way, visit Five Seasons Family Sports Club is online at and Tri-Umph is online at

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