Lynchburg, VA - Hundreds of people came out to downtown Lynchburg Sunday for the 11th Annual Angels Race.
The angels race triathlon is tough. It includes 300 yards of swimming, 15.5 miles of biking, and a 5k run through a lot of hills
Many have special motivation.
"I think this race is a little different because people come with their heart and to race for an angel and not just a fast time," said Mick Gunter, one of the race directors.
The names of angels are written on the arms of all who take part. But for two mothers, their angels are right next to them.
"My angel is my daughter," said Beth Trebour.
Trebour pulled and pushed her 17-year-old daughter Jenna through the race.
" It was a wonderful experience. Everybody was so welcoming and so supportive, and it just made me cry the whole way."
Trebour leads United Athletics, a group based in Richmond that pairs athletes with people who need physical assistance to compete in events like triathlons.
Inspired by Trebour, Leslie Hoglund asked Angels Race Directors if they could have assisted athletes take part in Sunday's race..
"I have two children with down syndrome, and I said, 'Oh my gosh, I could do this with them too,'" she said. "It's inspiring and it's motivating. And it keeps me want to push forward and make this happen again for other families."
And although it wasn't an easy feat, they say the sweat and tears are worth it.
"How much fun my daughter had today. I mean laughing and everybody was talking to her. And honestly she felt that the whole race was for her."
United Athletics now has a chapter in Lynchburg, and both Hoglund and Trebour say they hope to have more assisted athletes take part in local races.