Chase the Friar Kids' Triathlon History

The Chase the Friar Kids' Triathlon was an idea of Founder/Race Director Paul Stockett during his first year at Malvern Prep in the eighth grade. Paul was an active swimmer before a friend suggested to try triathlons. He fell in love with the sport and quickly upon arriving at Malvern realized how perfect it would be to host a kids' triathlon at Malvern Prep. 

It wasn't until his sophomore year that he got the ball rolling and it all started with scheduling a meeting with Mr. Jim Stewart, Malvern's President at the time. Paul had no idea how to start to make his dream happen and he was hoping Mr. Stewart would be able to help. Mr. Stewart listened to the idea and loved it. He told Paul to come back the following week for a meeting before school. Paul recalls assuming this would just be like an introductory meeting where he would introduce himself and the idea. He walked into the meeting and the board table was filled with different members of the Malvern staff and he was surprised to see the Mr. Stewart wasn't sitting at the head of the table but that seat was in fact open. Mr. Stewart introduced him and had him sit at the head of the table turning the meeting completely over to him to sell the idea. Paul remembers being pretty nervous trying to sell his idea of holding an event on Malvern's campus as a sophomore to about 15 administrators and teachers. 

The group that was present was exactly who needed to be there to make the event a success and after some ups and downs and over a year of planning, following his junior year, Paul along with the help of teammates on both the swim & dive team as well as the water polo team, faculty, and administrators launched the first Chase the Friar Kids' Triathlon on July 15, 2012.

Originally the race was supposed to only benefit the Malvern Prep Christian service fund as that was something Paul deemed a very important part of his Malvern experience and wanted to help give back to the program that allowed so much. With the unexpected passing of Erika Hornsleth, who was the daughter of Coach Paul Hornsleth '64, long time varsity swim coach and math teacher, a memorial scholarship fund was founded in her memory. Coach Hornsleth had a huge impact on Paul's development at Malvern as a coach, teacher, mentor, and friend to which Paul is extremely grateful for. Paul was about to begin one of the monthly meetings but because Coach Hornsleth was running late, he took the time to ask the group of administrators if instead of 100% of the funds going to the Christian Service Fund if  the funds could be split as 50% to the Christian Service Program and 50% to the Erika Hornsleth Memorial Scholarship Fund. The group unaminously voted yes and it was kept a secret from Coach Hornsleth until Paul felt the time was right to tell him, himself as he knew how much it would mean to the Coach that had done so much for him.

The race itself has maintained the same race course from the beginning while varying sponsors at times. It has been a huge success in its first three years and continues to grow each year and be improved upon. It is an extremely family friendly race with many families returning year after year. This race has become a good place for a little bit of sibling rivalry and the athletes always love it.

Paul makes it a personal point to walk around and talk to the athletes and families both before and after the race to see how their experience was and to make sure that they had a good time. The most common responses that he hears before the race are "I am nervous", or "I am not sure I can do it". He always reassures the athletes that they can do it and helps to get them to relax before they enter the water.

After the race he hears, "That was so much fun!", "I am super tired", "I can't wait to do this next year". It is those comments that made Paul want to found this race to begin with and to stay as Race Director. He wanted to introduce kids to a sport that he grew to love. Those comments to him are what make it all worth it and he is all about making it the best event possible for the athletes.