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Giving to Charity Through Multisport

By Kamden Hoffmann, PTC Member, Group Training Coordinator

clubThe Pittsburgh Triathlon Club (PTC) was started about two years ago. Its mission is to help foster the growth of multisport in the Greater Pittsburgh Area by supplying an open, supportive, educational and healthy competitive environment, and bringing together triathletes of all skill levels and capabilities. Since its inception, the club has grown to over 250 members, with more than five USAT certified coaches, registered dieticians and pro/elite athletes, as well as many newcomers to the sport who have gotten “the tri bug.”

When the USAT National Challenge Competition (NCC) was announced in late 2011, PTC looked at the competition as an opportunity to bring members together not just to raise miles, but to raise awareness for causes near and dear to the club. PTC decided to hold three events, a Swim-a-Thon, Bike-a-Thon, and Run-a-Thon, over the course of the three month period during the NCC.

The PTC Swim-a-Thon was held December 17, 2011 at the Greater Pittsburgh Aquatics Club. Over 35 members came out for the “100 x 100” relay. Teams were made up of one, two, or four people, depending on what their training called for at that point in the season. To count the laps, PTC members used pennies, pins, and other counting devices. Fresh holiday cookies were made, and the joyous holiday spirit was in the air. Quoting our president, Chad Holderbaum: “What an awesome morning at the PTC 10k swim challenge. Great work everybody. I believe we raised $300+ for the Greater Pittsburgh Aquatic Club swim team not to mention all the canned goods for the food bank! Very proud of this club!” All canned goods and non-perishable items were donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

clubIn January, with over 40 members in attendance, the PTC Bike-a-Thon was held on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the spin studio at Pro Bikes, a local bike shop in Pittsburgh. At first many planned to share the four hour time slot like the swim-a-thon, but the spirit and enthusiasm was so high that most members rode for two or more hours solo!! Some of this included taking breaks to chat with other members or refuel. PTC not only rode all morning and counted up the miles on their bike computers, but also donated over 20 large bags of clothes, which were distributed to local charities throughout the Pittsburgh area including Goodwill and Community Human Services, a non-profit organization with a mission to enhance people’s lives and strengthen communities by delivering comprehensive services that maximize the health and well-being of those it serves in South Oakland and the greater Pittsburgh area.

The Run-a-Thon was held at Schenley Oval Sportsplex at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh on Feb. 26. This time PTC raised money for Running for Laptops (RFL). RFL’s mission is two-fold: to support the education of at-risk students and provide the rest of members with a fun, organized way to team up with our friends, families and colleagues to stay fit. RFL runners are training for their first 5k or their 10th marathon — some are even 5k walkers.

clubWhile RFL is a fundraising program, RFL runners do not typically think of themselves as fundraisers. The minimum commitment is $100, so they only need to find five friends or family members to support them with $20. This is made even easier because people "get" what they are trying to do and like the fact that their donation will have a direct and immediate impact on the life of a student. PTC raffled off water bottles and RFL sport hats. PTC members paired up and walked, jogged and ran, so there was a distance and speed for everyone in attendance.

These three events show the commitment of PTC members to the multisport life and how a greater cause can bring people together to have a good time raising fitness as well as awareness and commitment to charity. PTC coordinates monthly group swims, bike rides, and runs depending on the season. As these three events were such a success, PTC plans to continue its commitment to charity and will foster this through incorporation into the group multisport activities year round.

Find out more about the PTC on their website.

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