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Active Endurance Sports

4 Posts authored by: MelissaE

On June 18, 2009, the team will begin their journey by stand-up paddle surfing from Malibu, California to Oceanside, California which is approximately a 115-mile distance. Upon their arrival in Oceanside, Ca, they will begin the "Race Across America" (RAAM) on June 20, 2009. RAAM's legendary stature has earned the respect and admiration of people from all over the world in its 28 years of annual endurance competition. It has established itself as one of the true pinnacles of global sporting accomplishments, seen as the highest level of challenge for ultra-endurance.


This team consists of amateur cyclists who are humbled by the challenge, highly competitive, but are looking to achieve their own personal best. RAAM's previous best record for the race is 5 days, 8 hours, and 17 minutes which covered a distance of 2,959 miles. Upon their arrival at the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland, they will be continuing their journey by stand-up paddle surfing and cycling from Annapolis to the Statue of Liberty in New York, an approximate distance of over 300 miles.


Unlike other famous races like the Tour de France, RAAM is not a stage race. RAAM is contested in a single-stage, with no scheduled rest breaks. It is the world's longest time-trial. Team RAAM racers in 2009 will ride over 3,000 miles from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD in a non-stop 24/7 effort across 14 states and over 100,000 feet of climbing. To win the 4-person division, teams will need to ride just over 500 miles per day. (Just try driving that!)



Big wave surfer and world famous waterman, Laird Hamilton has once again teamed up with a founder of Bally Total Fitness and 8-time Ironman competitor, Don Wildman, in an effort to set a new RAAM and world record for cycling across America. Joining them is Rage against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford, and amateur cyclist and Ironman participant, Jason Winn. Known as "Team Surfing USA" the four-some has joined together in an effort to create greater awareness and funding for Autism, Lou Gehrig's Disease and other important causes they hold close to their hearts.



Referred to by Men's Journal as "the world's greatest surfer", Laird Hamilton is considered a pioneer in the world of water sports. Having been raised on Oahu's North Shore, Laird has spent his entire life exploring and enjoying the ocean through surfing and completing epic long distance journeys on his ocean-going paddleboard and crating the fast-forward speed sailing loop. When he was twenty-two years old, Laird entered a speed-sailing competition in Port Saint-Louis, France, defeated the heavily favored French champion, and broke the European speed record of 36 knots. Today, Laird surfs the outer-reefs in Hawaii with his friends and uses his years of knowledge of working with different board designs to catch the giant waves he's famous for mastering. Please visit to learn more about this amazing athlete and humanitarian.



Don Wildman, 76 years old, a founder of Bally Total Fitness, who at 17 years of age, was shipped to the front lines as a combat medic in Korea, quickly rose to become a platoon leader and then a sergeant. After returning home from the war, Don became a mastermind in the business world, but also a world-class athlete in several sports. Wildman, an 8-time Ironman participant, is no stranger to RAAM, having raced in 1994.



Born in California, Tim Commerford began playing bass at a young age, and music and poetry quickly became his outlet. He became a founding member of the monumental band "Rage against the Machine," which quickly became a voice that represented an entire generation. In 1993, Tim was introduced to mountain biking by his future father-in-law. He has since become an obsessive mountain biker, even going so far as to thank all of his bikes in the liner notes for his albums.



Jason Winn is no stranger to extreme sports. Growing up in California, he was the quarterback throughout his school years, and he earned a full scholarship to Texas Tech University to play football. He completed his first Ironman Triathlon at the age of 23. But, Jason commented that, "The Ironman is easy compared to the Race Across America and our goal is to set a new world record!" Soon after the triathlon, he started Bonk Breaker, Inc. Energy Bars, and they are now in their 4th year of the company and have won Competitor Magazine's Best of 2006-2008 (people's choice award for the Energy Bar Category). In April 2009, Men's Health Magazine/Outside Magazine published Bonk Breaker Energy Bars as "Best bar we've tasted". Bonk Breaker is now sold in 4 countries. For more information on BonkBreaker, visit



In 2006, Hamilton and Dave Kalama soloed while Wildman and others relayed a 500-mile journey through the ocean channels between the Hawaiian Islands, via standup paddle boarding and cycling across each island to raise awareness and funds for Autism causes They are now ready to take on their next big challenge with Commerford and Winn, by competing in the upcoming "Race across America."



Hamilton, who has also stand-up paddled on a surfboard across the English Channel, as well as cycled from London to Paris in just 2 days, is now leading this effort. "We've put together a world class team of extreme athletes and cyclists, with the goal of helping raise awareness and funds for various causes such as Autism, and Lou Gehrig's disease. Also, I am involved with "Pipeline for a Cure" for Cystic Fibrosis. I feel honored and blessed to be healthy and be able to make such a crossing. Hopefully our crossing will inspire people to be active and healthy for themselves and to give back in a way that's personal to them. I know from past crossings that one of my driving forces comes from the experiences I've had and seen with people affected by these various diseases, who have the kind of strength and courage that is admirable and inspirational."



Wildman, who has a grandson with Autism, adds "after dedicating over 50 years of my life to fitness, I hope this latest event will motivate young and old as well as those with special needs to challenge themselves and get active, like my friend Augie Nieto, who is a living example." Wildman and Nieto were pioneers in the fitness industry together. Augie received a diagnosis of ALS in March 2005. He is the former CEO of Life Fitness. Augie is also the chief inspiration officer for MDA's Augie's Quest and he and his wife, Lynn, serve as co-chairperson of MDA's ALS Division. Augie's Quest MDA's ALS research initiative. It's an aggressive, cure-driven effort singularly focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. MDA is the world leader in ALS research and services. Wildman says "It was a natural fit to honor him and his efforts by supporting Augie's Quest."



With millions of devoted fans, "Rage" bassist Tim Commerford comments, "Wildman and Hamilton have always been a real inspiration. These guys are as extreme as it gets, so I couldn't pass up a chance to get involved, especially for such good causes." Commerford will also be riding to support Hans Rey's "Wheels4life". For more information, please visit




For more information about the Race across America, visit --[], and for more information on Autism or to make a donation for Autism, go to+ blocked::[] or" For more information on Lou Gehrig's disease or to make a donation, please visit






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The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) will auction a prized slot to the Ford Ironman World Championship, organized and conducted by the World Triathlon Corporation, at a gala dinner in New York City on June 10. The winning bidder (or his/her designee) may compete in either 2009 or 2010. Proceeds from the auction will help fund specialized equipment, training and coaching for physically challenged athletes so they can participate in the sports that many able-bodied individuals take for granted.


Interested parties can bid on the coveted slot in one of two ways: In person, by buying a ticket for A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope (tickets are $500; discounts available for NY-area triathlon club members; go to to learn more) or by downloading and completing a proxy bid form at and faxing it to 858.866.0958. Proxy bid forms will be accepted through Noon (PST) on Tuesday, June 9. The minimum opening bid for proxy bidders is $20,000 and during the live auction, bids will be made in increments of $1,000 until the bidder's maximum bid is reached. The winning bidder must have completed an Ironman 70.3 or other long distance triathlon by Oct. 1 prior to the Hawaii race date and is required to submit a completed athlete waiver to Ironman. For a complete list of auction rules, go to


"As we prepare for our third annual event, we recognize the importance of the event sponsors like Ironman," said Virginia Tinley, CAF's Executive Director. "The Ironman slot has always been a significant and extremely popular item in the live auction, and has raised many thousands of dollars to support the important mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation."


Held at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope will feature challenged athlete "stars," celebrities, and notable New Yorkers. Funds raised at the event will help challenged athletes overcome the economic roadblocks to participation in sports and live life to the fullest. This year's gala will honor Mark Holowesko, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Holowesko Partners Ltd. for his leadership, contributions and athletic success.



About Challenged Athletes Foundation

Since 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has raised more than $21 million and satisfied more than 4,000 funding requests from challenged athletes around the world via its Access for Athletes program. CAF provide funding directly to physically challenged individuals for the acquisition of adaptive sports equipment like sports wheelchairs, mono-skis, tandem bicycles, handcycles and sports prosthetics. Additionally CAF provides funds to entry- and elite-level athletes for training and competition expenses. Through its other programs - Catch a Rising Star (mentoring and introduction to sports), Operation Rebound (for U.S. military personnel and first responders injured while serving) and Reach High (community outreach), the organization reaches an additional 65,000 individuals per year. In 2009, CAF distributed more than $1.36 million in funding to 765 individuals in 49 U.S. states and 25 countries. To learn more, log on to or call 858-866-0959.



About Ironman



World Triathlon Corporation, owners and organizers of Ironman, is a Florida-based company recognized for athletic excellence, performance and quality products. With the addition of the Ironman 70.3 Series, Ironman now has more than 42 qualifying events worldwide. Supported by partners that include Ford Motor Company, Dell, Timex and Gatorade, Ironman is the No.1 user-based sports brand in the world. Ironman has been a respected name in triathlon since its inception nearly 30 years ago and is regarded as the world's most challenging endurance event. Millions may remember moments in Ironman history such as Julie Moss' crawl to the finish line in 1982, which was showcased on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Each year, more than 80,000 athletes compete for slots in the Ford Ironman World Championship held every October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and the Ironman World Championship 70.3 held every November in Clearwater, FL. The Ironman brand has been featured in a range of media outlets to include NBC, CNN Headline News, The Wall Street Journal, People, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and USA Today.






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San Diego, Calif - Some of the world's most accomplished and inspirational physically challenged athletes will take center stage at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City for the third annual A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope gala (Heroes, Heart and Hope) on June 10 to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). The gala event, which this year will honor Mark Holowesko - the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Holowesko Partners Ltd. - raised more than $800,000 in 2008 to fund handcycles, running prosthetics and other specialized equipment to help physically challenged athletes overcome the economic barriers that far too often prevent them from participating in sports and athletic activities.


"CAF's message of heroes, heart and hope will be a breath of fresh air for New York area supporters during these tough economic times," said Scott Stackman, Senior Vice President of UBS Financial Services Inc. and Chairman of the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala organizing committee. "Our goal at this event is to continue to raise awareness in the New York Tri-State area of what is possible given the right resources, and raise funds to get more physically challenged athletes off the sidelines and into the game."


The Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will also recognize sports legends and celebrities like Ironman greats Paula Newby-Fraser, Dave Scott and Scott Tinley, but the real stars will be the more than 20 physically challenged athletes - from kids to Hawaii Ironman finishers, from trailblazers to troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan - who are supported by CAF and will attend the event. Their stories of breaking barriers and perseverance will be showcased during the evening's program. Highlighted athletes will include:




  • New York's own Sam Cila. An American hero, who joined the New York National Guard after September 11, was injured in Iraq on July 4, 2005 and subsequently lost his hand. Sam continues to heal through sports.

  • David Gelfand. Born with the same condition as CAF Spokesperson and CBS's Amazing Race reality star Sarah Reinertsen - his idol, this young Weston, Connecticut native, an above-knee amputee, offers hope to other physically challenged kids.

  • Deanna Babcock. A competitive athlete her whole life, she was devastated when she lost her leg after suffering a heart attack at the young age of 23. Now with a new running foot, she's back into sport, and back into life.

  • Ricky James. When a motocross accident went horribly wrong, he lost the use of his legs, but not his competitive spirit.


The spirited live auction at the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala boasts a coveted spot in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, (donated by Ironman) which last year was won with a $45,000 bid. Individuals unable to attend the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will be able place proxy bids on the Ironman slot ahead of the event. Go to for details and rules.


"Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for this inspirational evening are still available" said Virginia Tinley, CAF's Executive Director. "Sponsors already on-board include: Ironman, Major League Baseball, Men's Health, and UBS Private Wealth Management, and it's through their support, that this uplifting evening is made possible."





The Heroes, Heart and Hope gala begins at 6 pm with cocktails and a silent auction in the Astor Salon. The dinner and program begin at 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom. The Waldorf=Astoria is located at 301 Park Ave in New York. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to: Tickets to the event are $500.



On June 13, CAF athletes participating in the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will hold a special multisport clinic, sponsored by Accenture at Asphalt Green (York Ave. between 90th and 92nd Streets in Manhattan) for local physically challenged athletes. For more information, contact:






Since 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has raised more than $21 million and satisfied more than 4,000 requests for funding from challenged athletes around the world via its Access for Athletes program. Through its other programs - Catch a Rising Star (mentoring and introduction to sports), Operation Rebound (for U.S. military personnel and first responders injured while serving) and Reach High (community outreach), the organization reaches an additional 65,000 individuals per year. In 2009, CAF distributed more than $1.36 million in funding to 765 individuals in 49 U.S. states and 25 countries. To learn more, log on to or call 858-866-0959.









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Our very own Active Expert Matt Fitzgerald will be in San Diego next week leading the Rock ‘n' Roll marathon pre-race clinic. His lecture is entitled The Art and Science of Marathon Pacing and he will have copies of his latest book, Brain Training for Runners, available for purchase and signing.


Matt is a widely respected running expert and author of several books, including Braining Training for Runners and Performance Nutrition for Runners. A frequent contributor to Runner's World and Running Times, he is also an Running Expert and a certified sports nutritionist.


His newest book, Brain Training for Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results is based on new research in exercise physiology. Packed with cutting-edge research, real-world examples, and the wisdom of the world's top distance runners, Brain Training for Runners offers easily applied advice and delivers practical results for a better overall running experience. To learn more about Matt, visit his Active Expert page:



For details on his lecture in San Diego on May 31, please visit his website.



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