CAF Brings Back High Fives and Finish Lines to Reunite the Community and Raise Millions of Dollars for Athletes with Physical Challenges

October 7, 2021

The 28th Annual CAF Community Challenge, powered by Strava featuring the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge now in an all-new location

SAN DIEGO, CA — October 7, 2021 – Returning in-person this year, Challenged Athletes Foundation reignites its Community Challenge, powered by Strava and the 28th annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge with an all-new location on October 22-24. This community weekend features an extraordinary series of events that bring together supporters, spectators, volunteers and athletes to support athletes with physical challenges. The annual event showcases the inspirational athletic spirit of challenged athletes competing side-by-side with able-bodied athletes. From injured veterans to children born with physical challenges, each year this inclusive weekend welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities for an uplifting experience that celebrates what is possible for challenged athletes. Funds raised from these events directly support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

The triathlon is the culmination of a full line-up of fundraising and community building events including the Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment, a seven-day, 640-mile coastal bike ride, adaptive sports clinics, the EöS Fitness Tour De Cove stationary cyclethon, EöS Yoga by the Bay, a 5K walk/run, the Philadelphia Insurance Challenged Athlete Kids Run and the Celebration of Abilities Awards Dinner. All in-person events are being planned in careful coordination with local regulations as it relates to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.  There are also virtual options for anyone looking to set an athletic challenge and raise funds for CAF.

“The Community Challenge, powered by Strava is one of the most inclusive sports environments where athletes of all ages and abilities experience first-hand the power of sport to pull people together.” says Kristine Entwistle, CAF Associate Director. “We are thrilled to provide a safe and unparalleled sports experience for all after such an unprecedented year.”

A star-studded line-up of Paralympians and challenged athlete legends like Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Scout Bassett, Hunter Woodhall, Roderick Sewell, Alana Nichols, Zion Clark, Willie Stewart and Sarah Reinertsen will also participate throughout the weekend. Paralympic medalists Steve Serio, Kendall Gretsch, Lauren Parker, Justin Phongsavanh, Trenten Merrill and Paralympic Power couple Kym and Erik Hightower along with Triathlon Hall of Fame legends Michellie Jones, Kathleen McCartney, Julie Moss and Scott Tinley will also be participating along with San Diego’s former Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

To kick off the weekend on Friday, October 22, CAF will also host a youth adaptive surf clinic and open water swim clinic. By afternoon, guests will gather to welcome home over 175 cyclists from the Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment who will have completed a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise over a million dollars in support of CAF’s mission. On Friday evening, CAF will host its annual Celebration of Abilities Awards Dinner at Bonita Cove to recognize partners and challenged athletes from around the country for their trailblazing and inspirational achievements in the prior year.

On Saturday, October 23, a series of adaptive sports clinics will be held at to provide expert coaching and mentoring for over 150 challenged athletes from across the nation. The sports clinics include Össur Running and Mobility, Wheelchair Tennis and Adaptive Swimming.

On Sunday, October 24 at Bonita Cove in Mission Bay, sports legends, celebrities, professional athletes, supporters and challenged athletes from all over the world will gather for the 28th Annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge. Known as “the best day in tri” the unique “challenge” distance format allows participants to compete in the events side by side with over 150 challenged athletes. The triathlon will introduce participants to a unique challenge-style triathlon offering a one-mile calm bay swim, a 25-mile or 40-mile scenic bike ride and 10.5 mile run course through stunning Mission Bay. The iconic bike course weaves through San Diego landmarks including Cabrillo Monument and Mt. Soledad, offering spectacular views of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and the San Diego skyline.

“The energy is electric, the athletes are inspiring and the love for the mission is loud and clear,” says longtime CAF supporter, Tina Weidenkeller of Long Beach, CA. “Whether you’re a beginner or competitive athlete you will leave inspired to do the sports you love and make a difference in the lives of others.”

Other Sunday highlights include the EöS Fitness Tour de Cove stationary cyclethon, Philadelphia Insurance Challenged Athlete Kids Run, EöS Fitness Yoga by the Bay and 5K walk/run. This weekend celebrates the power of sport to transform lives, build community and change perceptions of what people with permanent physical disabilities can accomplish. Funds raised from these events directly support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles and receive the support needed to succeed in sports and in life. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances one’s quality of life and these athletic events are every athlete’s chance to prove it.

Weekend Schedule of Events:

Friday 10/22   

9-11am                        Xterra Adaptive Open Water Swim                                                                       Bonita Cove

9-1pm                         Youth Adaptive Surf Clinic presented by Cavignac & Associates                Mission Beach

2:30pm                       MDC Riders arrive                                                                                                    Bonita Cove

5:30-7:30p                  Celebration of Abilities Program                                                                          Bonita Cove


Saturday 10/23

9am -12pm

Össur + CAF Running & Mobility Clinic                                                                                                   Bonita Cove

Wheelchair Tennis Clinic                                                                                                                             Bahia Resort

Adaptive Swim Clinic                                                                                                                                    The Plunge


Sunday 10/24

7am-2pm                    28th Annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge            Bonita Cove

8:00am                        Philadelphia Insurance Challenged Athlete Kids Run

9:30am-2pm                EöS Fitness Tour de Cove

11:00am                         EöS Fitness Yoga By the Bay

11:15am                          5K Walk

Registration for these events is available here.

Media Kit here: CAF Community Weekend Media Assets

Sponsors of the weekend’s events include:

Strava, Aspen Medical Products, EöS Fitness, Nike, Össur, 100%, Toyota, Headsweats, XTERRA Wetsuits, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Lusardi Construction Company, Smoothie King, Tech Sgt. Jack Kushner Foundation, Sully Entertainment Group, LLC, Bahia Resort Hotel, LAZ Parking, SKLZ, Ashworth Awards, Wild Wing Café, T-Mobile Accessibility, The UPS Store, SDG&E, Union Bank, Montana Mex, San Diego Union-Tribune, SockGuy, ZYM, N’Spire Happiness, Inspired Performance Institute, Independent Trading, Co., GU, GRIT Freedom Chair, Freemotion Fitness, Paul Mitchell, The San Diego Foundation, CREDO, Wattie Ink, San Diego Padres, Access Trax, Hanger Clinic, Race Guards, Cavignac & Associates.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $134 million has been raised and over 35,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and over 70 countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, visit challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.


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Christy Fritts