FALMOUTH — Julie Marchese, founder and race director of Maine Cancer Foundation’s Tri for a Cure, was the recipient of USA Triathlon’s Inclusivity Award at the inaugural Heart of the Race Director Awards held at Endurance Exchange, an industry-wide conference for endurance sports on January 23-26 in Austin, Texas.

The Heart of the Race Director Awards recognize excellence in the USA Triathlon race director community. The awards were presented in three categories: innovation, inclusion, and collaboration. Other winners include Gabriela Gallegos of El Paso, Texas for Innovation and Michael O’Neil of Boston for Collaboration.

“USA Triathlon is focused on promoting and amplifying the sport to underserved communities – and the initiatives Gabriella, Julie and Michael have implemented at their local events are great examples of the type of collaboration and innovation that opens and promotes the sport to new audiences.” said Victoria Blumfield, CEO of USA Triathlon.

 “We’ve introduced thousands of women from all over the world to a sport they never thought was possible by believing in the power of a cause that is so near and dear to them,” said Marchese. “This event is a sign of hope and determination for women to become active while giving back to their communities.”

Founded in 2008, Tri for a Cure is Maine’s only all-women’s triathlon and Maine’s largest single day fundraiser. Since inception, 17,187 women have participated in the event, generating more than $20,000,000 for Maine Cancer Foundation. Registration is open for the 16th Annual Tri for a Cure, which will be held on July 16 in South Portland.

For more information about Maine Cancer Foundation, please visit www.mainecancer.org.