MARGATE — Complete a triathlon or duathlon in less than 30 days; that has been the challenge from CONTACT Cape-Atlantic for the last seven years. Why? To encourage good health, and also to raise money for the volunteer organization.
According to CONTACT executive director Ann Magee, “Our mission is to provide telephone reassurance and community support for the elderly and disabled.
“We have 220 elderly and disabled that we call every day,” she said. “We also connect them with other services.”
CONTACT, a United Way agency, does a lot of fundraising to help provide those services and more, Magee said.
“That’s what keeps us going,” she said.
The triathlon/duathlon event began seven years ago as another way to keep fundraising.
“After the first of the year, our annual appeal was just winding down,” Magee said, explaining that she wanted to find a way to keep the momentum into the winter. “So we thought it would be a shot in the arm, financially.”
The registration donation is $30 and is co-sponsored by the Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center.
“It’s always been partnered with them. Actually, Lisa Rumer is in charge. She’s the one who came up with the idea. I approached them about trying to do something in cooperation,” Magee said.
Rumer is the Ocean City Aquatic Center program supervisor.
Just after the new year is the perfect time to get people into a fitness activity, Magee said.
“It’s also, people think triathlon or duathlon, you have to be a real athlete to do. This is an event that anyone can do,” she added.
Here’s the gist: Participants have from Jan. 21 to Feb. 18 to complete the event: a 2.4-mile swim in a pool, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26-mile run. Triathletes do all three events. Duathletes do two events. Competitors can substitute gym events for the swimming, biking and running events by documenting how many laps they swim or aquasize classes they take for the swim leg of the triathlon; how many miles they bike, step or row for the bicycling portion; and how many miles they walk, run, use the elliptical or take aerobics classes for the marathon section.
“There’s a lot of conversions. There’s a lot of ways you can do it,” Magee said.
“We get people from Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia,” she said. “Last year we had a couple from England. So you can do it anywhere.”
After the event ends, on Saturday, Feb. 23 there will be an awards ceremony at the aquatic center, 1735 Simpson Ave. in Ocean City. Every participant receives a T-shirt, which can be mailed to out-of-towners. Everyone who finishes will receive an award, which can also be mailed.
Magee said she has enjoyed the event each year because of the communication with the competitors.
“I really get a back and forth with the participants. A lot of them I get a lot of communication from,” she said. “One guy that has done it every year, the first year he came and he was just on his own. The second year he came, he brought a woman with him and he had gotten engaged.”
She said the next year he was married, and the following year he had a son.
“This year he emailed me and said he has a daughter,” Magee said.
The triathlon/duathlon is not limited by age. This year, the oldest person participating in the event is 92 and the youngest is 15.
“We get mothers and daughters, and we’ve had whole families that have done it,” she said.
CONTACT’s main office is located in Margate. After Hurricane Sandy, the building’s first floor flooded. Thankfully, Magee said, the CONTACT office is on the second floor of the building.
“The first floor meeting room had over 2 feet of water,” she said, adding that the electric and heat were both out, but have since been repaired.
Despite not having any water, Magee said there is still a mess to clean up before CONTACT’s volunteers can return to the building. So they have been working from home instead, reaching out to the elderly and disabled and making sure they are OK.
“In 2012, we did almost 80,000 calls,” Magee said.
In 2012, the triathlon/duathlon raised about $5,000 with 128 participants to benefit CONTACT Cape-Atlantic. This year, Magee said there are about 60 participants signed up. She said that people can still sign up after Jan. 21, but they must complete the event before Feb. 18.
For more, see www.contactcapeatlantic.org.
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