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2010 North County Times - Triathlete Teacher Has Added Inspiration - By Jeff Frank

March 25, 2010

ocOne of the 2,500 participants at the Ironman 70.3 California Triathlon will get a little extra push along the course from one of his former students.

Martin Reisert will compete in honor of Tehya Foussat, whom he taught a few years back in sixth and seventh grade at Oak Valley Middle School in Rancho Bernardo.

Tehya, who has spina bifida, spent much of seventh grade in a wheelchair after surgery for her condition.

Two years ago, Reisert, 34, completed his first Ironman triathlon in Arizona, swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, then running 26.2 miles.

About 100 yards from the finish he met Tehya, who got out of her wheelchair and walked with her teacher across the finish line.

Since then, Tehya's father, Tony Foussat, has joined Reisert in triathlon training.

The two created a nonprofit to raise money for underfunded charities and spina bifida research. About 10 athletes compete to raise money for the cause.

Tehya, 15, now a freshman at Del Norte High School, where she gets all A's and is a cheerleader, will be at the Saturday morning race in Oceanside, cheering on her former teacher.

"She never lets herself get down. She's always looking to the positive," said Reisert, explaining why he's inspired by Tehya. "She's the nicest, sweetest kid. I just wanted to do something to lift her spirits."


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