Swim, Bike, Run for a cause.

It’s summer, officially, now. And that means different things to different people. Schools are out. Summer camp. Vacation road trips with the family. The Hamptons. Baseball. Le Tour de France. The beach, the lake, the river, the islands – really any waterfront! Sun, sand, surf and SPF. Whatever your summer is, it’s all happening.

But to me summer means it’s triathlon season*. And when I think of triathlon my thoughts often radiate from my first, and still my favorite race, the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.

Zak Graff EnsembleZKG

Nautica Malibu Tri finish line

It is a great race on a beautiful beachfront course, with participants from every level of the sport. When lined up on the beach at the starting gate, you’ll be rubbing wet-suit clad elbows with pros, amateurs, novices and first-timers alike, all prepared to swim, bike and run the same course and conditions. But beyond the level playing field that three sporting disciplines establishes, I love this race in particular because it was created and continues each year to raise money for charity. Specifically the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, dedicated to curing and preventing childhood cancers. Yes, many races have a charitable tie-in. But this one has a unique level of engagement – one that you too can participate in.

Donate here.

Since 1986 the team at MESP has been raising money for charity by putting on the Malibu Tri each September. They have even expanded beyond Malibu adding events in Miami and NYC to benefit local charities there, but Malibu remains their biggest event and fundraiser.  Now in its 27th year, through the corporate team challenge, the entertainment industry challenge and individual fundraising, they have raised millions of dollars for charity; last year alone over $1.17 million was raised for CHLA. Entertainment companies such as Disney, NBC/Universal, LionsGate, Warner Brothers, CNN and corporate teams like Nautica, Toyota, Wynn Hotels, Paul Mitchell, and Herbalife all participate to raise money for charity. This marks my third year raising money through the race.

ZKG in transition area

pre-race hype in transition area

When I mention triathlon in conversation, often it raises eyebrows with people asking “You do what?” Not that they don’t understand what triathlon is, per se, but the next question is usually, “Why would you do that?” My answer is simple: to help raise money for sick – really sick – kids. Kids with cancer that need help in form of the best treatment and newest research to get better. Every crossfit WOD, every lap I swim in preparation, every mile I pedal on the bike, and every stride of every run helps bring focus, even in a small way, to that cause. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence, is one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. The hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation with the Keck School of Medicine of USC. 

Donate here.

I have the privilege again of racing with the Disney Tri Team, which last year raised over $225,000 for CHLA. Last year I raised $250 for the team, and this year my goal is to double that to $500. With your help I’m sure we can exceed my goal.

Disney Tri Team check for $225,000

Disney Tri Team

So here it is, a simple request. I am asking you for help in raising money for a wonderful cause. Will you donate?

Any size donation helps, from five to five-hundred. I’m not asking you to go crazy, but know that all your donations, all you give, adds up and makes a huge difference to children. So pull out a Benjamin or a Jackson, a ten-spot or a fiver, a few clams or a fistful of dollars. Whatever you can and want to give is appreciated. (And tax-deductible!) Thank you!!

The race is Sunday, September 8th, but my fundraising deadline is August 16, just a few weeks away. I’ll be practicing my transitions, swimming my laps, riding and running all the while.

ZKG just before the start

just before the swim

NMT swim start

Malibu swim start

Race day in Malibu is another great experience unique to the sport. Celebrities and athletes mingle along the beach and wait for their relay team members in the transition area. As part of the entertainment industry challenge, celebrities are parked at the front and make for great people watching. Past racers include Jon Cryer, Jennifer Lopez, Robin Williams, Julie Bowen, Teri Hatcher, James Marsden, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, Max Greenfield, Alison Sweeney, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  (Heck, it was this pic of Matthew McConaughey that served as motivation preparing for my first race!) Triathlon provides a great perspective for spectators anyway, here’s a chance to see celebs up close in spandex!

So, come enjoy the race and see what it’s all about, Sunday, September 8th. But until then, don’t forget to donate, and…

Have a great summer!!!

Zak Graff NMT posted results

posted race results

*(To the diehards out there, I realize there is no off-season for triathlon.)


About zkgraff

Man on the move, Director @ensemblezkg, Host of @DesignInConvo Podcast, Triathlete, CrossFitter, Ironman CA 70.3 Finisher
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2 Responses to Swim, Bike, Run for a cause.

  1. Pingback: …lately | Ensemble ZKG

  2. Pingback: Tri Time – Fundraising for CHLA | Ensemble ZKG

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