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Coach Harkleroad Competes in Triathlon for ''Mike's Kids''

When Berea College Women’s Basketball Coach Bunky Harkleroad (’93) competes in the Ford Ironman Louisville Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 31, he’ll be fulfilling a long-time goal for himself, but also honoring life-long friend Mike Caudill (’78) and helping bring attention to the “Mike’s Kids” Scholarship Fund.

Coach Bunky Harkleroad

Caudill, who died in December, 2007, created the “Mike’s Kids” initiative while superintendent of the Madison County school system, to raise awareness within the system of the needs of students who struggled academically. The initiative has become the B. Michael Caudill Scholarship Fund which will help local students have a better opportunity to attend college.

Harkleroad began biking with Caudill and a group that includes fellow alum Colby Wagoner (’93) and Berea economics professor Cliff Sowell a dozen years ago. Over the years they became fast friends, riding regularly, and even competing in some triathlons. An Ironman Triathlon, however, is a grueling test of endurance that involves swimming 2.4 miles, then cycling 112 miles and ends with a full 26.2 mile marathon run. The Louisville Ironman is one of 21 qualifying events world-wide for the World Triathlon Championship in Hawaii scheduled in October. The current record time is a little more than eight hours. But just completing an Ironman within the 17 hour time allotment is a highly respected accomplishment for those who undertake it.

“Competing in an Ironman has been a long time goal and something I always talked about with Mike,” says Harkleroad. “He always thought I could do it but said I wasn’t 'obsessed' enough.” Now he is, and he’s been working hard to prepare himself. “I do think he’d be proud of some of the workouts we’ve done and the work we’ve put in over the last three months. I really want to get through this thing in Mike’s honor.”

Just as he has been inspired by Caudill, Harkleroad hopes his effort will inspire others to donate to “Mike’s Kids.” The address is Mike’s Kids Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 518, Richmond, KY 40475.

This past Sunday, Harkleroad’s quest was the subjext of a story by Herald-Leader sports writer Mark Story.

Earning a spot in an Ironman Triathlon is coveted, and Berea College will be represented by not one but two competitors at the Louisville event. Along with Harkleroad, Rob Peterson, a 2003 graduate of Berea, Penn State and Johns Hopkins and now an electrical engineer at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland will also be there.

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