SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), a world-leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved in sports, welcomed more than 5,000 supporters, spectators and participants to La Jolla Cove on Sunday, October 19 for its 21th Annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC).
The event featured close to 300 athletes with physical challenges from around the country at a celebration of sport, ability and life that is like no other in the world. Two hundred of those challenged athletes participated side-by-side with more than 500 able bodied athletes in the 1-mile swim, 44-mile bike and 10-mile run “challenge distance” triathlon, which raised $1.18 million in support of CAF’s unique mission. The festivities at La Jolla Cove also included the 24 Hour Fitness Tour de Cove cycling marathon where more than 180 participants cycled for 4.5 hours and raised $77,000; the Kaiser Permanente Thrive-5K Fitness Walk; and, the Philadelphia Insurance Kids’ Run for children with physical challenges. The funds raised through these events will allow CAF to continue changing lives around the world by providing grants for adaptive sports equipment, training, competition expenses and mentoring so athletes with physical challenges can live active lifestyles and gain confidence through sports.
“This event has become known as the ‘The Best Day in Triathlon’ for a reason,’” said Virginia Tinley, CAF’s Executive Director. “It is truly a one-of-a-kind event that displays the power of the human spirit – proving there is nothing one can’t accomplish, no matter what your challenge. We can’t say enough to thank our supporters, sponsors and fundraisers who have made it such a success.”
The Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge, which started 21 years ago as a small fundraiser to help a local injured amputee triathlete who became a quadriplegic in a tragic second accident, has helped CAF raise more than $55 million and changed the world’s perceptions of those with physical challenges. From injured veterans to children born with physical differences, each year SDTC welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities and provides an uplifting experience – showcasing what is possible for those with physical challenges. This year, CAF began the day with a special tribute to the foundation’s long-time supporter and participant, Robin Williams. Robin participated in SDTC 11 times doing the bike portion on a relay team with double amputee Rudy Garcia-Tolson and two-time IRONMAN World Champion Scott Tinley. The day also featured three surprise grant presentations, where athletes like three-year-old Abel Rose, was granted a custom sports chair to allow him to excel in wheelchair BMX. Celebrities, professional athletes and special guests in attendance included:
- Boston Marathon Survivor’s Celeste Corcoran and Roseann Sdoia
- NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton
- Ironman World Champion Kathleen McCartney
- Two-time Ironman World Champion and legend Scott Tinley
- Pro-triathletes Heather Fuhr, Luke McKenzie and Meredith Kessler
- Two-time Xterra World Champion, cancer survivor and world champion paracyclist Jamie Whitmore
- Bob Babbitt, CAF Co-founder and Co-founder of Competitor magazine
- Rules of Engagement actress Bianca Kajlich
- More than 25 members of CAF’s Operation Rebound® program, which supports permanently injured military and first responders
This event is made possible thanks to CAF’s many supporters and sponsors including Aspen Medical Products, Xterra Wetsuits, Converse, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Nike, Lusardi Construction, Kaiser Permanente, Union Bank, Vavi, DJO Global, Inc., LAK Advertising, VDP Direct, Alphatec Spine, Headsweats, Össur, Wells Fargo, Built With Chocolate Milk, United Heathcare, SPY, Lifeproof, Nytro, MuscleAid Tape, Clif Bar, Lock Laces, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Swiftwick, Callaway Golf, Hanger, Oakley, TYR, Specialized, Paul Mitchell, GU Energy, Modern Postcard, La Valencia Hotel, Kinsesys, Sock Guy, La Jolla Shores Hotel, Independent, Riviera Paddlesurf, Sierra Nevada, LAZ Parking, ZICO Pure Coconut Water, Hughes Marino, La Jolla Cove Suites.
To see photos from SDTC, find us on Facebook or Twitter, go to @CAFoundation and search #BestDayInTri.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994 more than $55 million has been raised and 9,500 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.