As part of the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF’s) 25th anniversary celebration, the 2018 Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) weekend will be held from October 19-21 in La Jolla, California. The weekend will culminate with Sunday’s title event, which features a one-mile ocean swim, 44-mile bike ride, and ten-mile run.
“This day brings out the best of competitive sports. We refer to it as the Best Day in Tri,” said CAF Executive Director Virginia Tinley. “More than a triathlon, it’s an opportunity for people of all ages, levels, and abilities to come together as a community in one of the most scenic settings in the world.”
Attending for the first time will be PBS science correspondent Miles O’Brien and former NFL running back Isaiah Pead. O’Brien is an above-elbow amputee who, after completing Ironman 70.3 with CAF, will participate in the entire triathlon challenge. Isaiah is an above-knee amputee training to be a Paralympic sprinter, and he will also participate in the entire event. Returning athletes include Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Roderick Sewell, Scout Bassett, Sarah Reinertsen, Willie Stewart, Eric McElvenny, Bryon Solberg, Beth Sanden, and many others. Those who are unable to experience the triathlon in person are invited to join as virtual race participants or to tune in to the livestream broadcast at CAFLive.com.
To kick off the weekend on Friday, CAF will welcome home 190 cyclists from the Million Dollar Challenge who will have completed a seven-day ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise over a million dollars in support of CAF’s mission. That morning, CAF will also host the Junior Seau Foundation Adaptive Surf Program Kids Clinic, presented by Cavignac and Associates. At the surf clinic, kids of all ages and abilities will learn adaptive surfing skills from specialized coaches. The event will also feature the XTERRA Wetsuits Ocean Water Swim Clinic at La Jolla Shores.
On Friday evening, CAF will host its annual Celebration of Abilities Awards Dinner to recognize partners and challenged athletes from around the country for trailblazing and inspirational achievements.
On Saturday, there will be a series of adaptive sports clinics that provide expert coaching and mentoring for the 200 challenged athletes attending from across the nation.
After check-in, Sunday will start with the Parade of Athletes, where challenged athletes, legends, and celebrities will walk in preparation for the challenge-distance triathlon. Two hundred athletes with physical challenges and 600 able-bodied athletes will participate in the triathlon challenge with the option to compete as individuals or as part of three-person swim/bike/run relay teams. Over 5,000 spectators and volunteers will be in attendance, not counting those watching from around the world via livestream.
“SDTC is my favorite event year after year because it’s an amazing day for all athletes and supporters,” said triathlete and longtime CAF supporter Tina Weidenkeller. “It’s a true testament of the human spirit, and by participating and fundraising, I feel like I am helping to make a difference!”
Other Sunday highlights include the YMCA of San Diego County Tour de Cove stationary cycling marathon, Philadelphia Insurance kid’s run, Kaiser Permanente THRIVE Yoga by the Sea, a five-mile run, and a five-kilometer fitness walk.
The event will celebrate the power of sports to transform lives, build community, and change perceptions of what people with permanent physical disabilities can accomplish. Funds raised from these events directly support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges, so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances quality of life.