Despite all the racing I’ve done, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never really trained and raced “for a cause.” There have been a handful of charity rides and runs, but I’ve never solicited donations or dedicated a race to anything or anyone.
After Tuesday night’s time trial (cue Carrie Bradshaw) I couldn’t help but wonder, “what’s next?” It was the last TT of the season and my third and final race during a year where start lines seem anachronistic. These three little 17.4-kilometer efforts had provided an unexpected boost in morale and focus.
Later that day, I received an email from one of my colleagues at Ironman urging us all to join in a month-long virtual challenge called the IRONAID 140.6. With no racing this year we’ve been offering virtual races and challenges through our Ironman Virtual Club as a way to connect, engage, and motivate our athletes. I’ve done a handful so far, and while they’re far from everything I love about physical races—well, make lemonade, right?
The 30-day challenge asks participants to dedicate a cumulative 140.6 miles of cycling and running to the IRONMAN Foundation’s IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund. (140.6 miles/226 km is the full distance of an Ironman race, with swimming, biking, and running miles added together. Remember, Ironman was invented in Imperial America.)
September has been gorgeous so far and I have a few big rides on the calendar, so this seemed like the solution to my training ennui. Plus, I was already planning on doing our five-weekend series of virtual races leading up to our annual Ironman World Championship in Hawaii (which is not happening this year). Those 140.6 miles (and then some) were going to take care of themselves.
I clicked the register button and voila! The miles would be easy. Asking for money? Not so much.
COVID times have been easy times for me and my family, and I’m well aware of that. It’s been a rough go for many others, however, and it breaks my heart knowing that victims of domestic violence and kids in poverty have fewer resources than ever. As I run and ride my bike through the pastoral expanses and safe havens of my Western Canadian Island home, it just doesn’t seem fair.
COVID sucks, and I’ve felt useless. This merges one of my passions with the chance to give back.
If you feel like giving, you can donate through my personal fundraising page here.
Where does the money go?
The funds raised through The IRONAID 140.6 go to COVID-19 response programs in the communities that host our events worldwide. You can view the entire list of grant recipients here (under “Who are the previous grant cycle recipients?”), but a few that caught my eye include the Women’s Refugee Care WRC in Providence, Rhode Island; Westcott Community Center in Syracuse, New York (the street I lived on when I lived in Syracuse!); Feeding San Diego, San Diego, Calif. (another city close to my heart); Girls on the Run, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Florence Fang Community Farm, San Francisco, Calif., as well as numerous resource and crisis centres, children’s charities, and food banks.
- Providing personal, protective equipment (PPE) and for supplies such as ventilators, CT/x-ray machines, etc.
- Supporting programs in the areas of housing/homelessness, healthcare, nutrition/food support, mental health, domestic violence, care for seniors, etc.
- Finding ways to support quarantined individuals.
- Funding organizations that are working in areas with poor access to regular medical services.
- Supporting groups that are focused on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).
- Supporting the research into SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.