by Matt Florio
Join Team LIVESTRONG this year and run, ride or tri to help people affected by cancer. Learn more today at www.teamlivestrong.org.
Yesterday, over 2,000 triathletes from all over the world took part in the 33rd Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, CA. The race is an iconic event on the U.S. triathlon circuit and draws top professional and age-group athletes each year.
Of the racers being boarded onto the San Francisco Belle ferry prior to the race start were 16 Team LIVESTRONG athletes that decided to participate in this race for more than a finisher’s medal and bragging rights. Our team raised $47,000 that will help to fund critical LIVESTRONG programs and services for cancer survivors and their families.
We had athletes from all across the U.S.A., Canada and Brazil on our team. Some raced in honor or in memory of others and some raced to honor their own survival. Calley Hille, from Charleston, SC was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008. She has been living with it since and has been checking events off her “bucket list” ever since. James Field is a surgeon from Dallas, TX and raced in support of a friend who was recently diagnosed. Brian Duggan, from Sausalito, CA was the team’s top fundraiser having raised over $11,000 on his own.
This event, usually held in June but was bumped up in the calendar this year, saw probably the toughest conditions that it has ever faced. Water temperatures in the San Francisco bay were 51 degrees at race time and the air temperature was in the mid-50’s. With 15-20mph winds it made it feel more like 40 degree weather.
Strong currents made the 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz Island a dreadful one for all racers. Next, was an 18 mile bike ride through northern San Francisco that saw its far share of hills to go along with the wind. Finally, all athletes were treated to an 8-mile gallop over asphalt, rocky trails, grass, and sand, through a tunnel and up the infamous “Sand Ladder” before crossing the finish line at Marina Green Park.
For our team of cancer fighters, no records were broken, no money was earned but they all received something much better; the fact that through their efforts and through their pain and suffering during this grueling race they were able to help better the lives of many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. People that they will never see and never know will live a better, longer and happier life because of their work to raise money for them. And to me, putting yourself through that brutal race for that is worth every second.
Thank you to all of our teammates that raced yesterday and supported Team LIVESTRONG this year. It was inspiring to hear your stories and to watch you compete.