Each time you sign up for a race that benefits a charity you’re doing something good. Many of you in fact are determined to make your running mean more and raise massive amounts of money through Team in Training and other running organizations.
It’s easy to look at our efforts or races and think it’s outside the purview of elite athletes.
As I head off to Kona this week with Oakley, I am thrilled to share with you some interesting facts I learned from my new buddy Chris Lieto that might help us all remember why we need to giveback and that we have even more reason to respect those hard working elites.
An Ironman medal is a symbol of sacrifice, dedication and determination. Like an Ironman, these qualities are shared by children fighting cancer every single day. To recognize and support these amazing kids, I am passing on this medal to honor their journey, strength and courage. Make your day at @ironmantexas MORE than a race and #DoMOREWithMe by pledging to donate your medal to the patients at the @texaschildrenscancercenter.
Funny story: I met Chris in Boulder and any girl is going to notice his piercing blue eyes, but I kept having that “I know you” feeling. He’s soooo humble that even when I mentioned it, he gave a polite “oh yeah I did triathlon“.
GEEZ that’s like MEB saying “I’ve run a race or two“.
I actually saw Chris perform in Kona the last time I was in Hawaii to watch the Ironman Championships.
MORE THAN SPORT
One of the reasons Chris is so humble (besides his laid-back nature), is his focus is not longer elite level competition, but the charity organization More Than Sport. It helps elite athletes and brands find ways to truly make an impact with time, dollars, and sweat equity.His idea for the company started early in his career and I’ll let him tell you in the following interview:
The journey of MORE Than Sport began as a simple bike ride one early morning in Mexico. It was supposed to be a mere course check before a big race, but what I saw on my ride would change the way I saw the world forever. I was staying in a beautiful all-inclusive resort, as athletes often do when we travel to these amazing events. We enjoyed swimming pools, cold drinks, and healthy food as we rested up for our races.
What made you look up that day in Mexico? I’m sure you’d been through areas of poverty before, so what was different?
When I first decided to try the sport of triathlon I was 25.
I set a goal (or 3 because that’s what overachievers do):
- be World champ
- best in the US
- make a difference with my platform if I was successful
Those 3 things were in my DNA as value and passion, it was much stronger motivation to have purpose in sport and in life.
So that day in Mexico was just about enjoying my surroundings and preparing for the race the next day. But seeing those kids and joy they had sparked an interest into what their lives must be like. They had very little and yet we had so much as athletes visiting the region for a race.
Then seeing the poverty not as “let me fix their problems” but “how can we connect as people and support each other.”
In life we shouldn’t just come into someones home and use what they have and move on without meeting/understanding/or engaging with the people who live there.
We were the visitors there, but many times in sport we act like it’s our home or our right in an event to take over the entire area. Consider the roads we close, the resources we consume without ever meeting or connecting with locals.
What we do: “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… These are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.” – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General @timewellspentdoc crew bringing clean water solutions to over 800 people living in remote villages in Panama – thanks to the generous support of triathletes, brands, and pros at #imkona2015 #morethansport
By helping and by caring for someone else you realize life is not about yourself.
Sport is usually a selfish endeavor and am trying to open the eyes of athletes to understand that you can give as much as you receive when you are out there racing.Reminding athletes to connect with more than a goal during travel races -- engage, connect and make a difference Click To Tweet
Why do you think elite athletes are driven to give back?
I believe it’s a desire of elite or professional athletes because they they feel blessed with what they have.
As a child someone helped inspire them and now it’s their chance to pass that along. It’s an internal desire to inspire or transform someone else’s life like someone did for you.
Honestly some elites may not feel driven to give back, but our desire is by giving opportunities for them to serve someone else usually results in a eye opening experience that they are more filled by giving than receiving.
Why is it important to show these elites giving back?
The reason why More than Sport wants to show what these athletes or what we are doing is not to say “look at how great we are” it’s to use the stories of these athletes to help inspire a movement in sport.
Sport and the media seems to like to tell the stories of the bad things athletes do or issues in the sport or with an athlete. We want to help elevate the good that can come from sport.
Sport is one of the most influential people group in the World and we can help motivate, inspire, and hopefully transform lives not only of the people or places we give back to but of the athletes, spectators, fans, brands and media.When someone has that moment like you did in Mexico, what do you encourage them to do? How can they start to take action?
This is why I created More than Sport.
I had no one to really go to when I had this moment.
I could go support small charities in different areas,which I did. But there was no organization that was trying to join sport together for good.
So we are that resource or that network to connect people with a purpose, cause.
We partner with charities on the ground but we help bring everyone together. There are a lot of athletes doing great impact work but if you talk with them you will hear similar answers that it is much harder than they thought, an uphill battle, a challenge to focus on giving and competing because of the added stress.
We help streamline and help plan impact for these athletes.
As a mass sports following of spectators, fans, and casual participators More than Sport is that family of people for good. A place to plug into and find like minded people. To see what athletes are doing what and what Brands are stepping up to give back.
More than Sport is a place where you can by brand goods and we have negotiated out of the sale to have direct impact to specific areas of need. We are also a place to potentially enjoy some great opportunities around sport and giving back at the same time.
WIN A TRIP FOR GIVING
Our current campaign gives the opportunity for someone to win a free trip to the Bahamas to watch the best athletes in the world compete in an intimate small group without all the media and spectators.
Hang with the best professional in the sport of triathlon at a resort booked out solely for the professional field. It’s going to a good cause to impact the youth in the local community.
Enter and learn more >> www.morethansport.org/island-house
Learn more and find out how you can get involved at https://www.morethansport.org/
Have you raised funds for charity through your runs?
Do you notice when elites pay it forward?
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