Senior Life Skills Student Competes In Tyler Triathlon

Suann Pullen
Pullen, Daughtry, and Rozell are being cheered on as they run the mile.

On September 8, senior Brandon Pullen competed at Lake Tyler for the CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose City Triathlon. He raced in a 100-meter swim, four-mile bike ride and one-mile run.

“The triathlon was more than I could have ever imagined,” Suann Pullen, Brandon’s mother and life skills teacher, said. “Brandon got off to a slow start, but he finished strong and amazed me more than I already was. The way the other kids embraced him as he finished the run brought tears to my eyes and others there, too.”

Brandon participated in the 11-13 age level division for the race. Freshman Libbi Rozell and junior Noah Daughtry agreed to help participate in the event with him as his special rally team.

“He was hesitant at first on the swimming part, but he did really well,” Rozell said. “I enjoyed it a lot because it felt heartwarming just to know I can help him out, which really impacted me.”

Volunteers monitor the open swim as well as lap requirements. They are also there to help the participants along the way.

“During the swim I had to swim two laps and back,” Brandon Pullen said. “I made better friends with my teammates.”

Brandon has previously competed in the Special Olympics for a few years and went to state in cycling last year.

“We’ve done 5K runs together,” Pullen said. “He’s also a good swimmer, so we thought we should try something different and challenge him.”

When the race was completed, all of the finishing participants were rewarded with a medal. 

“It kept me on edge the whole time,” junior Sydney Knight said. “I’ve known [him] for years, and all of the sudden seeing him doing something like this really made

my heart race.”

Family and friends at this competition were invited to cheer on the racers. This event offers young athletes of any level the opportunity to be able to experience competition.

“In the mile run, we didn’t let him stop and pushed him to run all the way through,” Daughtry said. “I think it made me a better person [because I helped him.]”