Women's Varsity Triathlon Benefits from Gift to USAT Foundation
by USA Triathlon Foundation
As with anything else in Dave Alexander’s life, nothing is small.
At 5’8 and 265 pounds, Dave has rewritten the book on what it means to be an athlete. His racing journey began like many others with a 5K. But his started with barefoot runs around the block since he didn’t own any running shoes at the time.
That 5K gave way to a 10K and eventually a triathlon. Dave went on to finish 287 triathlons in 37 countries. All in all, he’s finished over 500 multisport events.
He says when he’s passionate about something, he goes all in.
Dave is a major supporter of the women’s triathlon program at Arizona State University, which has gone on to win five national championships. By training for three sports at once, he says athletes “end up doing better in life because of it.”
Today, Dave and his wife, Marilyn, are also instrumental in taking swim, bike and run to the highest level for female collegiate athletes.
With an unprecedented gift to the USA Triathlon Foundation from the Alexanders, USA Triathlon now has the necessary funding to support NCAA schools interested in adding women’s triathlon at the varsity level. This is made possible through the USA Triathlon’s Women’s Triathlon Emerging Sport Grant.
Expanding the sport at the highest level is “the way it should be,” Dave said.
“Dave and Marilyn’s passion for the sport is unmatched, and providing more opportunities for women to compete at an elite level is very important to both of them,” sad Gabe Cagwin, President of the USA Triathlon Foundation and USA Triathlon’s Chief Advancement Officer. “The incredible impact they will have on the future of women’s triathlon will be felt for years to come.”
Dave is a lifelong entrepreneur. He began practicing magic at 9 years old, was voted best close-up card magician in 1967 and even had the chance to entertain Johnny Carson and his guests during a private party. If that wasn’t enough, he began doing public speaking gigs when he was still in high school.
He’s also the founder of Caljet, the largest independent motor fuels terminal in the southwestern United States. Although he runs an extremely successful business, he measures real success by giving back to society and those in need. He said giving back to others—through both time and money—is a value his father taught him from a young age.
He jokes that he’s “done okay in life” despite having to “cheat my way through high school.”
“I never went to college, and my father was very upset that I never did,” Dave said. “Here I am helping colleges develop programs for young people. He would be very proud.”
Over the years, he’s credited triathlon with helping himself stay organized, focused and manage business stress. Training before work gave him more energy and helped the day go much more smoothly.
“If I can do this, I can do anything,” he said of training and racing.
The answer to why he loves triathlon so much is simple: the people involved with it.
“If Dave Alexander was a single sport athlete, the elites would have nothing to do with me,” he said. “But in triathlon, it’s like a club. They care about me and everyone else in the sport who are trying.”
Although he’s 77 years old, Dave says he still works seven days a week and is planning to return to triathlon with a short race sometime soon.
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.