Delaware County resident and teacher Hilarie Barry is combining her love of children and triathlons at this month’s Ironman Ohio 70.3 by running, biking and swimming for a cause.

Barry started participating in triathlons 10 years ago after spending plenty of time on the sidelines, cheering her husband on as he participated in them.

“I would go with him to races and think: a lot of people doing these things, why am I not doing them? So for turning 50, I decided to start doing triathlons,” said Barry.

She ended up loving them and has been competing in several competitions every year since. Training 10 to 12 hours a week, Hilarie said she found it therapeutic to get up and run in the dark at 5:30 a.m. before she started her day at Schultz Elementary.

“This year I turn 60 and decided to do a long distance race to celebrate that,” said Barry.

This will be her second-ever Ironman, as she competed in one years ago in Rhode Island. Barry and her husband, Joe, knew they wanted to do something a bit different if they were going to do another Ironman.

This year they had an eye-opening experience as they were not only blessed with four new, well-provided-for healthy grandchildren, but they also got the opportunity to volunteer at the Delaware County branch of Family Promise.

Family Promise is a national program that helps homeless families and expecting mothers achieve lasting independence. The Delaware County branch is in a six-bedroom home — supported by local congregations in Delaware County — that provides homeless families with food, shelter and assistance with obtaining employment and housing.

“In 10 months, we had four grandbabies born — which brought us up to nine — and they’re all healthy, none of them are homeless, all their parents have jobs, and that just feels like such a blessing to us … so because of that and our ability to make this Ironman a ministry, we just have to help other families with babies,” Hilarie said.

“We figure it’s by the grace of God that it isn’t our kids in that position, you know?” Joe said. “It could be our kids staying in Family Promise, but thankfully they’re not. We feel the need to give to those that are.”

The cause is also close to her heart as she’s a teacher for kids with disabilities at Schultz Elementary.

Mr. and Mrs. Barry used their passion for triathlons as a fundraiser to support the Delaware County branch of Family promise. They started a donations page on CrowdRise that, so far, has raised $500 for the cause.

“It’s not about me or medals,” she said. “This time it’s for something much bigger — a ministry.”

To learn more, you can visit or search “Family Promise of Delaware” on

The Ironman 70.3 Ohio triathlon starts with a 1.2-mile swim in Delaware Lake immediately followed by a 56-mile bike ride through Delaware, Marion and Morrow counties. Finally, athletes will take on a double-loop, 13.1-mile run course with rolling hills, finishing in front of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Selby Stadium.

The race begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at Delaware State Park Beach.

By Morgyn Cooper

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Morgyn Cooper is an intern for The Gazette.