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Are You Ready for the Best Day In Tri?

How you can get involved in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge.

How you can get involved in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge.

The Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge—dubbed “the best day in tri”—will return to La Jolla Cove on Sunday, Oct. 21. The event looks to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and will have special meaning this year as the organization celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Over the past 25 years, CAF has raised over $100 million and awarded over 23,000 individual grants to people with physical challenges through sports equipment, training, and racing expenses. On July 31, the City Council of San Diego proclaimed it “CAF 25th Anniversary Day” to recognize the organization’s contribution to the community. While that honor was no doubt special, the real party will take place at that San Diego Triathlon Challenge in October.

“This is a big celebration, and over the years we’ve had some really big names like Will Ferrell, Robin Williams, and Jim Carrey come out,” CAF co-founder Bob Babbitt explains. “People understand that this teeny sport of triathlon has had this huge impact. What we do is fairly selfish as triathletes. This particular day is all about giving back.”

The event was originally formed for able-bodied athletes to help raise money for CAF, but as Babbitt explains it has really transformed into something so much bigger than that.

“Now we have 120 challenged athletes who participate in the event, who are out there swimming, biking, and running with us,” Babbitt says. “A lot of times you have an athlete who doesn’t have those type of challenges competing right next to someone who does—and you get to see how these athletes compete. And a lot of times the challenged athletes are kicking everyone else’s butts!”

An unexpected element that has become one of the most important parts of the weekend is the camaraderie.

“A lot of the challenged athletes come from somewhere where they’re the only amputee or wheelchair-bound person in their city,” Babbitt says. “So when they come to this event and see legs scattered all over the place, and other people doing hand cycling—a lot of mentoring and bonding goes on. The friendships are amazing—at this point, a lot of these kids have grown up together through the San Diego Triathlon Challenge.”

If you’re in San Diego (or want to be!) on Oct. 21, there are several ways to get involved (see below). Want to support the cause from afar? New this year, CAF is offering a virtual participant option.

10 Ways You Can Take Part in the Best Day in Tri

  1. Full triathlon: 1-mile swim, 44-mile bike, 10-mile run. (fundraising min: $600)
  2. Relay TeamSwim, bike or run as part of a triathlon relay team (fundraising min: $500 per person; $1,500 full team)
  3. Single Event: Choose the 1-mile swim, 44-mile bike, or 10-mile run (fundraising min: $500)
  4. Stationary Cycling Marathon4.5-hour YMCA of San Diego County Tour de Cove  (fundraising min. individual: $500, fundraising min relay: $300 per person, $900 for team)
  5. 5-mile Run(fundraising min: $80)
  6. 5k WalkA 5K Fitness Walk presented by Hanger Clinic ($50 reg. fee)
  7. Kaiser Permanente THRIVE Yoga by the Sea-90-minute(fundraising min: $80)
  8. 5-mile run + 90-minute yoga: (fundraising min: $150)
  9. Volunteer and experience the incredible moments of the weekend
  10. Virtual ParticipantIf you can’t be in San Diego on Oct. 21, you can still be a part of the day by virtually participating! (fundraising min. $25)

Learn more at Challengedathletes.org/events/sdtc, and relive last year’s event below.