STRIVE Behind The Lens: Shelly Murphy

 Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph

Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph

As the STRIVE Splash N Dash Camp & Race Season approaches, we wanted to highlight the creative behind the inspiring images of the STRIVE experience, Shelly Murphy. From day one the transformation that youth experience after the Splash N Dash has been chronicled through Shelly's lens. 

She is a member of the powerful women's tribe of professionals that make up the Board of Directors and also a Graphic Designer in the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company. In her 17 years with the firm, Shelly has served clients in diverse industries, including the public, private, and social sectors. Shelly has also been the Production Coordinator at a satellite radio network company.   

We talked to Shelly to get her insight on the process to create Strive 2 Tri's beautiful imagery.

Why do you think Strive 2 Tri is so visually impactful? 

Strive is an energetic program full of emotion and energy.  You see it on all in the faces of the athletes, parents, volunteers, and supporters that are their on race day. These kids are talented, courageous, and truly amazing. To consciously choose to live a healthy and active lifestyle is not easy but truly inspiring to see our future committed to doing so. The athletes are truly the reason behind the visual impact. Every one of them strive to finish the race and overcome whatever limitations or fears they may have at some point and that is impactful. Strive is such a great program, it helps kids build their self-esteem and encourages a positive mindset. To the first time racer to the returnee, they show up ready, determined, and courageous. The bonus is you see these young athletes support each other, it’s amazing. He energy is magnetic and so the photos speak for themselves.

You have created a unique style of showcasing the youth racing and training at camp that is full of inspiration. Is that how you felt while shooting the process? 

I wanted to make sure I captured these great moments which are full of energy and emotion. To see kids of all ages and background out there striving, pushing past their fears or challenges to finish the race is the true inspiration behind it all. I wanted to immortalize those moments and to remind each of them that they are fearless and limitless. 

I also wanted to show other youth of color that you too can do this. The program is for everyone, everywhere to challenge themselves to be better. It really is important for our kids see other kids, coaches, volunteers, and business owners who look like them doing amazing and impactful things and overcoming mindsets, fears, challenges, etc.

If you had to use one word to describe the effect you wanted your Strive 2 Tri images to have on the world what would that word be?


How important is it that Strive 2 Tri now offers race options for adults?

Great question, offering to adults is a wonderful opportunity to start (and maintain) your exercise regime with very attainable goals. For individuals interested in the sport of triathlon, swimming, or running the course is a great introduction. As adults it is critical that we stay active, eat healthy, and challenge ourselves physically and mentally. Participating in Strive’s Splash N Dash is a great opportunity to do just that. Most importantly, we are charged to lead by example and what better way to lead our youth than participating in the SND.  

What are some of your goals as a member of the Strive 2 Tri Board of Directors?

To further Strive’s reach in our communities. I am connecting with my tribe to increase our race and camp participants, growing our volunteer team members, and securing individual and corporate sponsorships. It will take a village to help our kids grow into healthy and happy adults. I am committed to doing what needs to be done to help our kids be successful. It is important for kids to believe they can do anything and the great thing about the sport of triathlon is you rely on your training and strength to cross that line. All the training, eating healthy, and discipline comes together as you cross the line. There are no losers or second places because you aren’t competing with anyone. You are setting yourself up to be a healthy and successful adult having a strong sense of self and ability. And that is the ultimate goal, for all kids from every background know and believe in their greatness. 

Why will the Strive Splash N Dash 2018 season be more robust than ever?

I believe we have a diverse and powerful Board this year. The Board this year consists of women from various backgrounds each bringing their talents, passion, and experiences to the table. It is inspiring to see Strive grow and be apart of the Board. Yolanda Nelson is the Executive Director which is s huge plus for Strive. Yolanda’s insight and experience gained from being a teacher within the PGCCS is immeasurable. She brings her never-ending energy, fantastic communications skills, and personal experience to the role and I am excited to see her take Strive nation-wide.  Having Yolanda full time is going to unfold new opportunities and ventures along with strengthening our existing partnerships to further the mission of Strive.  Strive has an amazing program and has done the work to make 2018 a breakthrough year.

Did I say I am excited! #Strive2Tri 

When Strive 2 Tri Issued A Challenge, Parent Carmen Johnson Accepted

 Photo Credit: Carmen Johnson

Photo Credit: Carmen Johnson

By Tarus Nelson

Carmen Johnson is fed up. The single mother mastered the juggle of kids and professional life but when it came to her health, admittedly it took a back seat. However, this year is the inaugural one for adults to enter this noncompetitive race series and Johnson is not one to be left out.

Preparing for her first STRIVE Splash N Dash this summer under the campaign banner of #Strive2TriChallenge, Johnson is one of many parents that have decided to not let the youth have all the fun and #TeamStrive has been right there inspiring a collective of adults eager to stay active.

When STRIVE leadership issued the STRIVE 2 Tri Challenge, we realized that the ever-growing list of multi-sport events appearing regionally could confuse a new triathlete that is deciding what race to do first.  Constantly, we field the same questions from an energetic and engaged audience: What race do I sign up for? Do I rent a wetsuit? A new bike cost how much??

Triathlon is an expensive sport and the cost for continued training increases according to how great you want to look while crossing the finish line. 

Strive To Tri (STRIVE) is a 501c3 non-profit located in Prince George’s County Maryland which is a melting pot of diverse residence on the outskirts of DC & Virginia.  STRIVE has established in 2011 as a resource to empower youth to lead an active lifestyle through free 6-week Splash N Dash Camps in underserved communities and USAT Splash N Dash Races.  

As a proud race location of the USAT Youth Aquathlon Series since 2013, we’ve witnessed great success with these programs, which compliment each other.  Parents were so energized by witnessing their kid complete a race that they clamored to participate in their 1st USAT event.  

We’re located in a dense area where safe cycling lanes & functional bikes within households are a challenge especially, for a new athlete. We had to be creative on methods of introducing this sport to a minority demographic, which was relatively unfamiliar with triathlons.  

STRIVE devised a strategic plan to provide fun, inexpensive USAT Events throughout the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area to all youth; as well as adults eager to dip their toe into the pool of multi-sports.

These inexpensive short course races are structured on participation, not competition, as a monumental first event within a family-friendly environment.  This STRIVE “Get Off The Couch” Movement allows for all-inclusive events in various venues throughout the region open to all ages groups. 

Carmen Johnson has been steadfast in her commitment to the Strive 2 Tri Challenge. She has graciously decided to share her journey with us on the STRIVE Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter social media platforms. From the grueling late-night workouts and swim and early morning prep for work and kids, Carmen is a true superhero. Taking up the Strive 2 Tri Challenge, Johnson joins a community of parents that are answering the call to “Get Off The Couch” get active and Strive 2 Tri. 

Getting Parents a step closer towards the starting line while providing an annual membership plus countless other USAT benefits makes the journey to becoming a triathlete easier for all and STRIVE is happy to play its part in the growth of the industry.  

Strive 2 Tri Announces Splash N Dash Adult Relay Race Option June 16th in College Park, MD

 Photo courtesy: District Triathlon

Photo courtesy: District Triathlon

Strive 2 Tri announces Adult Relay Races at the June 16th Splash N Dash at the Ellen Linson Splash Park!

This is a monumental addition to an already phenomenal line-up of Splash N Dash events. You can sign up HERE and register today! Slots will go fast!

Strive 2 Tri Featured By The Shadow League

 #TeamStrive with youth that Strive 2 Tri

#TeamStrive with youth that Strive 2 Tri

Recently, Strive 2 Tri was featured by, a site dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage with a cultural perspective that insightfully informs sports fans worldwide.

Founded and developed by media entrepreneur Keith Clinkscales, TSL is owned by Shadow League Digital a multi-platform content creation company.

The story focuses on Strive 2 Tri's successful efforts at raising awareness of healthy lifestyle choices among a diverse youth audience in the DMV. We appreciate The Shadow League for their highlight of our 2018 Splash N Dash Race Series and you can read more at the link below.

Continue to Strive 2 Tri!

#TeamStrive Starts #Strive2Tri Media Tour

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#TeamStrive embarked on a media run recently to let the world know about the 2018 #SplashNDash Race and Camp season.

Strive Co-Founder Yolanda Nelson and Executive Director Tarus Nelson appeared on the Open Bar Tuesdays show in Washington, D.C. The late night adult lifestyle formatted show provided Strive a platform to not only espouse on its six-year history and promote the addition of adult races.

Tarus challenged host Ronald Austin to participate in a Splash N Dash and Ron as well as co-host David Turner agreed to register. The Nelson's also met the McAllister's who talked about the foundation gifting collegiate scholarships in their daughter's name. Ayana McAllister was killed in a shooting while on break from college.

 Tarus Nelson and Pat Thornton

Tarus Nelson and Pat Thornton

The next morning, Tarus Nelson appeared on The Thornton Business Hour on Radio One's WOL 1450 AM with Pat Thronton. The two discussed how Strive has impacted Prince George's County and the upcoming race season. Pat implored her listeners to donate year-round to aid Strive's goals

Continue to follow our Notes From the field for more updates on media appearances by #TeamStrive.   

Take A #Strive2Tri Journey With Carmen Johnson


Meet Carmen Johnson

Watch her #Strive2Tri

#TeamStrive is always pushing the envelope and advancing the culture of healthy lifestyles daily. To that end, our own Community Engagement administrator, Carmen Johnson has agreed to challenge herself and participate in a #SplashNDash Race this 2018 season!

Carmen Johnson is a mother, professional, and fervent supporter of Strive 2 Tri. She is a self-confessed couch potato that is looking to advance her own narrative back into a healthier sphere. We will be checking in on Carmen here and on our social media platforms so please come back to see her progress and comment to give her the added motivation needed to #strive2tri.

We all are Carmen Johnson, she's just brave enough to admit it. Come join Carmen and #TeamStrive this race season by registering for one of the 2018 Splash N Dash races. If you are feeling yourself enough, register yourself or the youths in your life for all three! It is going to be a movie everyone and you are the star!