This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time. Now that I’m starting to commit to my races for the year, it seemed like the right time. It’s a post about triathlon, triathletes, and our place in the broader community.
I live on the edge of one of the poorest communities in Canada, the infamous DTES (Downtown Eastside) of Vancouver. My immediate neighborhood is not the same, but it is a mix of professional families like mine who buy here and low income people who rent. I see a lot of need on a regular basis, and I was having trouble reconciling what I see around me with the money I spend on sport, the money we triathletes all spend on sport. This led me to an idea – what if every time I raced I donated – which led me to ask - what if every time we all race we donate? Imagine the difference we could make in the communities we live in, the communities we race in. It could be huge.
So last year I committed to do it. And now I’m challenging others to commit to the same thing. Whenever you compete donate something to a local charity or organization. Local can mean where you race, where you live, or some larger community that you belong to and care about improving. My causes are kids, local poverty, and sometimes their intersection, but you might care most about girls in sport, bicycles for the poor overseas, trans youth, your local animal shelter, trail creation and maintenance, or something else entirely. What the cause is isn’t important, just that it’s something that’s important to you. There’s lot of good causes out there that can use our dollars and or time.
I know not all triathletes have loads of spare cash lying around, but I’m sure we can all find things to give away, or time we can give to someone. Donate used shoes or sports equipment, give away your children’s old clothes or toys instead of selling them, volunteer for a local race, or to sit for a friend who wants to get out but can’t afford child care. There are all sorts of ways we can give, not just money.
I’m committing to donating with every race, and I will post a link to the organizations I’ve donated to starting with last years’ donations. This isn’t to draw attention to myself, it’s to draw attention to the organizations and their work. (Disclaimer: I’m not vouching for any of them, I’m just saying I’ve donated to them.) If you join in the challenge and set up your own organizations-donated-to-page, I’ll happily link it up with mine, so you can get more attention for your chosen causes too. I’m copying much of this text to a permanent page, not just this post, and that’s where I’ll put any links. Just comment with a link to your page and I’ll put in on the permanent page.
Let’s help make a difference, and show the world that triathletes care. #trigiving