La Jolla Cove in San Diego hosted more than 5,000 supporters of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) at the 22nd Annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge on Sunday, October 18-an event that raised $1.4 million to help individuals with disabilities get the support they need to succeed in sports and in life.
Through the 24 Hour Fitness Tour de Cove cycling marathon, Kaiser Permanente Thrive-5K Fitness Walk, Philadelphia Insurance Kids’ Run, Wawanesa Family Fun Zone, and the signature Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (a “challenge” distance format including a 1-mile swim, 44-mile bike ride, and 10-mile run), participants and spectators celebrate inspirational athletic spirit while building camaraderie.
The San Diego Triathlon Challenge has earned its moniker-“best day in tri”-for the camaraderie among challenged athletes of all ages and abilities and able-bodied fundraisers completing the events side by side.
The triathlon itself is the culmination of a full weekend of events. On Friday, October 16, 150 cyclists arrived in San Diego after raising $1.6 million during the tenth anniversary of the seven-day, 620-mile Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge cycle ride down the coast of California. CAF also held six clinics on Friday, each designed to teach challenged athletes the skills and confidence they need to reach their physical fitness and athletic goals. Clinics include the Open Water Swim Clinic, Cavignac & Associates Kids Surf Clinic, Wheelchair Obstacle Course, Tandem Cycling Clinic, Pool Swim Clinic, and the Össur Running and Mobility Clinic.
“Coupled with important fundraising, the weekend is about bringing our Challenged Athletes Foundation family together-our dedicated supporters, inspirational athletes, and generous partners-to celebrate our collective athletic accomplishments,” said Bill Geppert, CAF’s CEO.
Funds raised over the course of the weekend will allow CAF to provide adaptive sports equipment, travel and training, and competition expenses to athletes with disabilities around the world, and to support the organization’s mentoring programs and schedule of annual, free mobility clinics.
This year, Team Coastline and its 30 affiliated members raised more than $150,000 through independent fundraising efforts, and $92,000 was raised by participants of the 24 Hour Fitness Tour de Cove cycling marathon.
Sunday also included two special grant presentations made in honor of longtime CAF supporter Kate Steinle, who tragically passed away this year; she was a close friend of CAF founder and Board Chairman Jeffrey Essakow’s daughter, Nicole. To honor their relationship, best friends Mayli and Brooklyn, who were both born with spina bifida, received surprise grants for a WCMX chair and handcycle, respectively.
Combined with the fundraising efforts of the Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge, the San Diego Triathlon Challenge weekend raised a record-breaking $3.1 million for CAF.
This event is made possible thanks to many CAF supporters and sponsors, including title sponsor Aspen Medical Products and XTERRA, Converse, Nike, Lusardi Construction Company, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Wawanesa Insurance, Össur, Kaiser Permanente, BWCM, Headsweats, Wells Fargo, DJO, VAVI Sport & Social, LAK Advertising, VDP Direct, Alphatec Spine, Union Bank, Giuseppe Restaurants & Catering, Nytro, Bank of America, SKLZ, Ashworth Awards, and Rita’s.
For more information and photos, visit www.challengedathletes.org/SDTC or go to @CAFoundation on Twitter.
This article was adapted from information provided by CAF.