The other day while reading Facebook posts, my friend Eric McGarrah sent me a message about applying for the Ultimate Race to Give, sponsored by BMW of Des Moines and Zoom Performance. What it listed seemed almost too good to be true. If selected, you receive training from a world-class triathlon coach from Zoom Performance, a open-water swim clinic, a transition clinic, running assessment, gear to wear at the event from BMW of Des Moines, paid entry in the Des Moines Triathlon, and a membership in the Des Moines Tri Club (I’m already a member!). You even get the use of a BMW for a weekend! Doesn’t that sound amazing??
Then there’s the “catch”. For my part, other than training is that I have to raise $1000 for the charity of my choice. Wait, what?? I get to choose what charity I raise money for?? That’s incredible! There was no thinking it over, I sent in my request to be considered right away! That evening, I told my wife about entering and she entered too! We laughed on how cute would it be if we both got accepted, then we discussed the charities that we wanted to work for. I chose the Animal Lifeline, a special needs no-kill shelter in Des Moines that Julie and I have donated to for years. We even adopted our Great Dane Murphy from the Animal Lifeline (Maverick the Weimaraner and Max the miniature Dachshund were adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa). Julie selected the Heinz 57 Pet Rescue. So, now that we selected a charity, all we had to do was wait.
It wasn’t long before we received an email asking us to fill out a questionnaire. It asked your athletic accomplishments, who you wanted to raise money for, why did you pick that charity, was I on social media, how would I raise money for my charity, etc. It was rather short, and I was surprised that it didn’t ask a lot more questions. So we both answered the questionnaire and sent it in.
A few days later, I got the news. I got selected!! I was so pumped, I emailed back thanking them and wanted to know if I could start the fundraising right away. Then I called my wife and told her to check her email…she didn’t get a letter. I told her to look again, and look for the name Cameron Denucce. She said she would look again, but had to get back to work. My heart sunk. I was hoping we could train together.
When she came home, I greeted Julie at the door with “Did you check again?” The look on her face gave it away…she got accepted!! She missed it the first time. We would be training together for a triathlon. I knew I wanted to do the Olympic distance, but what did Julie want to do? Her answer surprised and impressed me: she wanted to train for Olympic distance as well.
This past Friday, BMW of Des Moines invited us to a kickoff celebration. Unfortunately, Julie had to work, but I went and met Cameron and Craig from BMW, Matt and the coaches from Zoom Performance, and the rest of the team that I would be training with. They selected 8 people, and Craig said that they wished that they could have chosen more, but that they were impressed with our accomplishments and our charities that we selected. When Craig said “accomplishments”, it got me wondering. I’ve always set goals: run a half marathon, run a full marathon, run 1000 miles in a year (originally 750, but I had passed that mark before the year was out), things like that. Then it’s on to the next goal. I guess I never really looked at them as an athletic resume of sorts. Then Cameron asked all the athletes to gather for a group photo. I just stood there until Craig said “You better get in there”. They were referring to me?? I never considered myself an athlete, just someone who works out. We gathered for photos, and then a team meeting. It was exciting.
Before we left, Cameron gave us these awesome BMW gym bags to store our gear in. It can also serve as a huge backpack! It has more pockets than I know what to do with! We also got our entry into the Des Moines Triathlon, and details on the use of the BMW for the weekend. Before you knew it, it was time to head home, but we were told that training started on Monday. I couldn’t wait!
Now, let me tell you a little about the Animal Lifeline of Iowa. One Christmas Eve, we stopped at the Animal Lifeline to drop off food for the dogs and cats. The volunteers asked if we wanted to see the puppies and kitties, and of course we did. There was a blind Bassett Hound that had great hearing and an even better sense of smell, especially when a treat was near! He was scheduled to be adopted, so that was good.
Then we were told that we had to be quiet when entering the next room, as this dog was hit by a car and had pins in her hip. They didn’t want to get her too excited. I imagined a poor dog laying in a cage, all alone and in pain, but what I saw shocked me. There was the poor dog, laying with pins holding her broken hip and leg together, gently wagging her tail. The reason why she was wagging her tail? Because a volunteer was sitting in the kennel next to her reading to her! We found out later that they took shifts staying with her until she was healed. That meant all through Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years Day that dog was never alone. She was loved and cared for like never before (she was later adopted).
I have a donation page at Gofundme.com Here is the link:
It is listed under “Ultimate Race to Give”. Please consider a donation to help the Animal Lifeline continue to care for pets until they are adopted. If they are not adopted, they live out their lives at the Lifeline, never at risk of being euthanized because of time of space constraints. You can read more about the Animal Lifeline of Iowa on their website: http://www.animal-lifeline.com
Live healthy, be happy!