It’s a family thing


courtesy of Bruns family

The Brunses competed in the Naperville Sprint Triathlon in August.  “It was a pretty cool moment when Lindsey, Molly and I each took first place in our Age Groups at the Naperville Sprint Triathlon and got to take turns standing at the top of the podium,” Betsy said.

With five minutes left in the two hour long swim practice, Molly Bruns, sophomore, steps up to the starting block in lane five, her goggles and her game face on.  She shakes out her arms and adjusts her cap over her ears to prepare for the last 100 yard sprint of the day.  From the side of the pool deck, her coach yells for the six swimmers perched on the blocks above the pool’s six lanes to take their marks, and consequently all of them grip the edge of the block with their fingertips and place one foot behind them, crouching down in a ready position.  As the coach shouts “go”, the swimmers dive into the pool, streamlining before they break the surface of the water and begin swimming.  In lane six, the lane right next to Molly Bruns’, Lindsey Bruns, seventh grader, races her older sister.

Swimming is not the only sport Molly Bruns trains and competes in with her younger sister.  During the spring and summer months, the Bruns girls can be spotted at nearly all of the triathlons that take place locally.  In their lifetime, Molly and Lindsey Bruns have both completed 13 triathlons, with three of them occurring over this past summer.  

The oldest Bruns sister, Allison Bruns, Hinsdale Central graduate and freshman at the University of Michigan, also competed in triathlons and was a dedicated swimmer in her high school years.  Their mom, Betsy Bruns, takes part in the sport as well, participating daily in a training group called Endure It!.  

For Molly, being surrounded by highly active people and growing up in a very athletic family has had a noticeable impact on her own athletics.

“[Being a part of an athletic family] has really encouraged me and pushed me to try more triathlons and work really hard at them,” Molly said.  “My little sister and I are always competing in our triathlons together so it pushes me to [train] harder and beat her.”  

Not only do Molly and Lindsey compete in triathlons, but they also compete in swimming events and running races.  The younger Bruns sisters both swim on the same swim club year round and often race in several events in meets and practices.  Although the sisters are competitive with each other, Molly emphasizes that the competitions are always in good fun.

Although the Brunses mostly exercise separately, they occasionally train together.  “I’ll go on runs with my family,” Molly said.  “Sometimes I swim with my little sister.”  

courtesy of Bruns family
Molly Bruns participated in the Chicago Super Sprint Triathlon this past summer, where she received first place in her age group. She has been competing in triathlons like this one since she was seven years old.

Betsy added, “Sometimes I would swim at the same time with my kids, but we would typically be doing separate workouts. Lindsey often joined me for my long runs on the weekend.”

Betsy attributes triathlons to giving her family goal-setting skills, determination, discipline, confidence, and pride.  “[In Molly specifically, I have seen] a sense of confidence and strength when she pushed her body to the limits and a sense of pride [as a result of competing in triathlons],” Betsy said.

The mother of three has done her fair share of triathlons and other races, with her biggest accomplishment being the Steelhead Half Ironman Triathlon she completed in August.  

In September, Lindsey and Betsy ran the Chicago Half Marathon together.  Lindsey received first place in her age group.

In the pool, the sisters finished their 100 sprint race.  It was a tight battle, but ultimately Molly, swimming in lane five, came out on top over Lindsey.  As they pulled themselves out of the water, the two sisters shared a smile.  “[My sisters and I] always try to push each other to go faster and work harder,” Molly said.

Molly already has plans to compete in at least two triathlons in this upcoming summer.  Looking into the future, the middle Bruns sister hopes to continue to pursue this passion in adulthood.  “I will definitely compete in more [triathlons when I’m older],” Molly said.  “I’ll probably go for longer distances, too.”