Shortly after noon, Christopher and Kiley Wolf ended a morning-long journey through their Delran neighborhood by dashing toward a 15-foot banner in the street.
Christopher, a third grader at Delran Intermediate School, lept in the air at the finish line, tapping the banner like a basketball player going up for a dunk. Kiley, a second grader at Millbridge Elementary, smiled widely as she followed her older brother.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Colleen Davis, who helped hold up the finish-line banner on Monday morning. “I didn’t know he could run and bike more than I could.”
But Christoher and Kiley Wolf weren’t just competing for fun. They were swimming, biking and running because they wanted to do something nice for their Aunt Colleen, who works as an ER nurse.
Through a Facebook fundraiser, the Wolf kids raised more than $1,650 by the time their triathlon ended, with all of the proceeds going toward meals for Davis and her first-responder colleagues who have worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic at Virtua Mount Holly and Jefferson Health in Stratford.
“They realize something so big is going on,” Davis said of her 8- and 9-year old nephew and niece. “They’re experiencing a huge change that’s going on in the world and for them to realize I’m going through something, just the support … it’s pretty amazing.”
With his usual sports shut down during the pandemic, Christopher began running this spring with his dad, Chris, who coaches track and field at Delran High School. When he found out a lot of runs benefit charities or become fundraisers, the third grader had the idea of running to raise enough money to buy lunch for his aunt and her co-workers, knowing they’ve been overworked and stressed during the last three months.
“He wanted to raise money … for something bigger than himself,” Davis said.
The donations flowed in quickly in the first 24 hours.
“I went to bed, woke up and there was $1,000,” Davis said with a laugh.
The total crept closer to $2,000 by race day, a pretty remarkable feat for a couple of grade-school kids.
“It feels pretty good,” Christopher Wolf said, “because I know they’re working hard and it paid off to buy them lunch and it’s just a nice thing to do.”
His younger sister agreed.
“Some people actually forget about their night shifts,” Kiley Wolf said of the nurses, “so we might have enough money to buy them dinner.”
Her father laughed.
“I think a lot of lunches are coming their way,” he said.
Before their own, post-race lunches arrived on Monday, the Wolf siblings swam in their aunt and uncle’s pool, went for a long bike ride, and ran around the block. Or, to be exact, Christopher completed a ¼-mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride and 5-mile run triathlon (his first) and Kiley also performed the relay swim, biked 7 miles and ran the last mile so she could join her brother at the finish line.
“We started and finished (at our house),” Chris Wolf said. “We posted the maps on our Facebook page and people were out cheering us on, so it was kind of cool to see the community coming together for two kids trying to make a difference … I feel it’s important to show these kids they can make a difference.
“It’s two of them, they’re 8 and 9 (years old), they’re just stepping up and showing they can make an impact, positively, for people.”
The elder Wolf has competed in some Tough Mudders before, but Monday was also his first triathlon. When asked about his favorite races, the proud father didn’t hesitate.
“This is probably the top of the list,” he said. “Just to be able to do something this good for my two children, to make a difference for their aunt.”