There are many reasons why people decide they want to tackle a triathlon. A very public commitment to train and compete, perhaps; a benchmark in their fitness quest that's taken them off the couch and onto the course; even a step in their goal towards competing in an even more challenging event in the near future.
If you're thinking about being part of this year's Galloway Captiva Tri, here's another good reason: To help the less fortunate in our community put food on the table.
When you sign up for the Galloway Captiva Tri a two-day fitness and family weekend Sept. 15-16 on Captiva a portion of your registration fee is earmarked for CCMI -- Community Cooperative Ministries Inc. CCMI is an innovative nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of social service entrepreneurs fighting to end homelessness and hunger in our community. The agency provides more than 14,000 meals each month through their Everyday Caf and Marketplace and Home Delivered Meals programs. CCMI also educates 40 children in their Community Montessori, offers homeless and comprehensive case management services through their United Way Resource House and oversees an emergency mobile food pantry.
Specifically, the Galloway Captiva Tri this year will support CCMI's Backpack Program, which is currently feeding more than 1,750 students at schools in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.
"There is nothing more upsetting to me than to know that there are children, senior citizens, and men and women just like you and I going to bed tonight hungry," said Sam Galloway Jr., Chairman Emeritus of CCMI.
In the hardest hit areas of Lee County, as many as 97 precent of children are on free or reduced lunch. Most of these children are going without any food from the time they leave school on Friday until they return on Monday, as well as during school holidays. CCMI established school backpack programs in many local schools in conjunction with community service organizations in order to get food directly into the hands of the children. (They have also established a School Food Pantry at Bonita Springs Elementary.)
"Experts agree that good nutrition is critical to a child's ability to learn," said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI." Our backpack program supports that goal by addressing one of roadblocks of positive educational outcomes, child hunger."
Last year, with 500 registrants for the adult race the Galloway Captiva Tri raised $6,500 for CCMI. This year, with the race capped at 750 registrants, race organizers plan to increase that figure -- and this year's event will also include the opportunity for participants to donate directly to the backpack program and participate in team fund-raising for CCMI.
The Galloway Captiva Tri is comprised of two different events: The adult triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 16, and the children's tri Saturday, Sept. 15.
The adult race (sponsored by the Zehr Center for Orthopaedics) is a sprint length, comprising a 0.25-mile open-water swim, a 10-mile bike on the road of Captiva Island (which will be closed to regular traffic for the event) and a 3.1-mile run on the South Seas Island Resort golf path which includes panoramas of the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. Athletes will compete in waves based on age and gender.
There will be two children's fun races (sponsored by Jason Gunter, P.A.): The 6-9 year olds will complete a 100-yard swim, 1.5-mile bike and 0.5-mile run, while the age 10-13 racers face a 200-yard swim, 3-mile bike and 1-mile run. The swim course will take place in waist-deep water along Captiva's Gulf beach, and the course will be lined with adults and life guards. The bike course will be closed to all traffic, and the run course will be along the golf course overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. All children who finish will receive a medal.
Both adult and children athletes can find out more details and register online through the link at the event website, www.captivatri.org. The entire family can make the Galloway Captiva Triathlon a family, fun and fitness weekend at South Seas Island Resort.