Accomplished Triathletes Give Back by Supporting USAT Foundation
by USA Triathlon Foundation
A couple who loves to race is giving back to the sport that’s given them so much.
When it comes to triathlon, Audra and Michael Mallow have a long list of accomplishments: multiple IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 finishes, including the 70.3 World Championship. Among those accomplishments is their philanthropy in the sport and their involvement in the local triathlon community in Los Angeles.
Their generous gift to the USA Triathlon Foundation supports the newly created CEO Excellence Fund, which assists the greatest needs among the Foundation’s three pillars—encouraging youth participation, inspiring adaptive athletes and igniting Olympic/Paralympic dreams.
Helping create pathways to triathlon for youth athletes is “really fun and fulfilling for us,” Audra said.
“Seeing how kids blossom when they get involved with something—sports, music or academic—gives them more purpose and drive to overcome obstacles that they might have,” she said.
Michael said the platform that USA Triathlon provides for adaptive athletes is “remarkable.”
“Seeing them perform and compete is really eye-opening to me,” he said.
The Mallows were among the first to “step up and help us in a major way,” said Dr. Gabe Cagwin, president and chief advancement officer of the USA Triathlon Foundation.
“They were all-in from our first meeting and are committed to helping us positively impact the sport and our triathlon communities, especially when it comes to providing the opportunities and resources needed to encourage youth participation and support our adaptive athletes,” Gabe said.
Audra and Michael are ambassadors for the Toyota Legacy Triathlon, which will host the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships again this year.
“We thought it was a fun way to represent the sport and bring more people into it,” Audra said.
As ambassadors, they’ve had the chance to help new triathletes through hosting a transition class, which helped calm nervous swimmers and provided time-saving tips, like not changing clothes during the race.
Michael did his first triathlon at age 47, when he met Audra. He had done marathons but said he was going to wait on triathlon until his daughter graduated high school. He ended up starting about six years shy of that.
“It’s been awesome for me, particularly given my work and the intensity of my work, triathlon has been an equal counterbalance to that,” said Michael, who is a trial attorney. “It’s certainly a relief from the stress.”
Audra has been involved in triathlon for 20 years. She’s a private wealth advisor and found training for her first IRONMAN in 2008 helped her endure the Great Recession, which was considered the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.
“I needed something to take away the stress from that,” she said. “Training helped me not to think about the negativity and gave me a focus.”
They’ve also focused on using the sport to give back to others. The Mallows have used their IRONMAN events as to collectively raise more than $200,000 for nonprofits who help children who are disabled or come from less fortunate backgrounds, both locally and internationally.
“We just want to help where we can,” said Audra, who also gives back as a member of the USA Triathlon Foundation's Board of Trustees. “It’s been proven that if you help the kids, it helps the future.”
“When kids have opportunities and outlets to express themselves and engage in positive ways, they do better,” Michael added.
Both challenged other triathletes to think about the friendships and experiences racing has brought them, and then to consider supporting the USA Triathlon Foundation so others can have similar experiences.
“I want to remind them to think of what triathlon has done for them and see how great it would be to extend it to people who haven’t been involved in the sport yet,” Audra said.
If you’d like to join Audra and Michael in supporting the USA Triathlon Foundation through the CEO Excellence Fund, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-830-1835.
The USA Triathlon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the charitable arm of USA Triathlon. With its mission to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run, the Foundation serves to generate a greater impact on the multisport community through charitable giveback and grants that advance the Foundation’s three pillars: (1) Encourage youth participation; (2) Inspire adaptive athletes; and (3) Ignite Olympic/Paralympic dreams. Since the Foundation was established in 2014, it has provided millions of dollars in grants to organizations and individuals in pursuit of its mission and pillars to create a healthier United States through triathlon.