On Sunday, Oct. 23, La Jolla Cove in San Diego hosted the 18th annual
Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) San Diego Triathlon
Challenge (SDTC). More than 7,000 people flocked to La Jolla to take part in or
cheer on family members and friends, while more than 200 challenged athletes,
children and permanently injured military personnel participated in the event,
which featured the new “challenge distance” triathlon. The challenge
triathlon, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, consisted of a one-mile swim, 44-mile
bike ride and 10-mile run. The triathlon raised more than $1.2 million to fund
adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses for individuals
with physical disabilities.
The most successful yet
According to Roy Perkins, senior director of programs and strategic
planning for this CAF, this year’s SDTC was the most successful to date.
“The highlight of the day is what we call the challenged Kids
Sprint and Run,” Perkins told O&P Business News. “It
takes place during the triathlon. The event is like a little festival. We have
a lot of stuff going on.”
The triathlon began at 8 a.m. The Kids Sprint and Run got started at 10
a.m. CAF allows spectators to line the streets and watch the kids run.
“The kids get cheered on by the crowd and their faces are put on
the big screen as they cross the finish line,” Perkins said. “They
all receive medals as they cross the finish line. We make a huge production out
of it. It is always a great moment for the event.”
Along with the triathlon and the kids’ run, the SDTC also features
the Tour de Cove, which features 100 stationary bikes lined up across the edge
of the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, the Thrive 5K offers disabled and
able-bodied participants the opportunity to walk and enjoy the scenic views.
One of the most attractive aspects of the SDTC is that CAF encourages
all disabled individuals to come and enjoy the event.
“If you have not had the chance to experience it, you should
certainly put the SDTC on the to-do list,” Perkins said.
For new amputees or first-time attendees, watching disabled individuals
participate alongside able-bodied individuals in a triathlon is an eye-opening
“That is one of the cool things about SDTC,” Perkins said.
“We bring in newly injured amputees or first time attendees even if they
are not physically ready to participate. To see other athletes participate in
these challenging events allows new amputees to envision what they can do. It
sets the bar. Many of them come back and participate in the event next
Next year’s event is scheduled for Oct. 21 in La Jolla Cove in San
Diego. According to Perkins, CAF will work hard to continue making the SDTC the
best day in triathlons.
|The CAF challenge distance
triathlon tests bike riders over 44 miles along the Pacific Ocean.
|Images: Challenged Athletes
“We are always trying to get more athletes and spectators,” he
said. “We will continue to build it. Outside of the Paralympics and major
disability events, it is probably one of the biggest gatherings of disabled
athletes in the United States. We want to change the perception of disability.
We like to say that we change lives one athlete at a time. At SDTC, that also
goes for able-bodied athletes who are inspired by what they see here.”
Andy Green, won the men’s individual open with a time of 4:08:27.2.
Green beat Kurt Junge by 3 minutes. In the women’s individual open,
Shannon Greene won the event with a time of 4:17:56.2, beating out Hannah Davis
by 14 minutes. Davis finished with a time of 4:31:50.2.
In the men’s team swim, Sam Paschel won the event finishing with a
time of 17:19.5. Paschel beat out Claudio Majewski, who swam the one-mile swim
in 21:24.7. In the women’s team swim, Natalie Barrad won with a time of
19:40.2, edging out second-place finisher Julie Swail with a time of 22:04.3.
In the men’s bike competition, Steve Bogna defeated Patrick Wells
with a time of 1:56:38. In the women’s bike competition, Michelle Simmons
finished ahead of Trish Ray with a time of 2:17:06.2.
Wesley Bergin took first place in the men’s run, beating out Chris
Heuisler with a time of 1:01:49.4. In the women’s competition, Eliza
Alexander won first place, beating out Milena Glusac with a time of 1:06:52.
|Disabled and able-bodied athletes
compete side by side in the triathlon.
In the men’s team relay, 16-year-old Ariel Smotrich joined forces
with Bruno Wolfenzon, and Keith Kirby, to win the event with a time of
4:11:43.6. In the women’s competition, Amy Ginsburg, Rebecca Hartman, and
Jeanne Little-Findlay won the event, posting a time of 4:41:40.5. — by