Celebrating 30 Years: Challenged Athletes Foundation Hosts Ultimate Inclusive Sports Experience for Athletes with Physical Disabilities

October 12, 2023

Thousands to attend the CAF Community Challenge fueled by Toyota, for the 30th Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge presented by Dan + Geof and a spectacular weekend of inclusive sports where athletes of all ages and abilities participate together

SAN DIEGO, CA /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), the global leader in adaptive sports, is gearing up for an unforgettable celebration of its 30th anniversary through the CAF Community Challenge fueled by Toyota. The flagship fundraising event, featuring the iconic San Diego Triathlon Challenge presented by Dan + Geof, will run from Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22. These events mark three decades of transforming lives and creating inclusive opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities. Funds raised support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support for individuals with physical challenges to pursue active lifestyles through fitness and athletics.

CAF’s Community Challenge is not just an event; it’s a driving force for inclusivity. Participants will engage in a dynamic series of events that unite athletes, supporters, spectators, and volunteers in the mission of empowering individuals with physical disabilities through sports. The ultimate inclusive sports weekend unfolds with sports clinics for athletes on Friday and Saturday, culminating in a family-friendly Sunday community event featuring the Toyota Sports Festival, Tour de Cove presented by EOS Fitness stationary cyclethon, 5K Walk, Run, and Roll presented by Nike, the Jami Marseilles Kids Run and Roll presented by Philadelphia Insurance Companies, and the original event that started it all, the 30th Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge presented by Dan + Geof.

CAF originated as a compassionate response to assist Jim MacLaren, whose life was dramatically altered by a triathlon accident that left him with quadriplegia. Jeffrey Essakow, Bob Babbitt, and Rick Kozlowski came together to organize a triathlon fundraiser for Jim. During this event, they discovered a much larger societal need, and CAF was formed to break down the financial barriers that stand between individuals with physical disabilities and their aspirations to be active.

“Thirty years ago, our journey began in the heart of La Jolla, fueled by a passion to make a difference. We embarked on this remarkable path, inspired by the extraordinary spirit of Jim, and today, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary, that same spirit continues to drive us forward,” said Bob Babbitt, Co-Founder of CAF. “From those humble beginnings to the global stage, CAF has transformed lives and pushed boundaries. As we look back with pride, we also look ahead knowing that our mission to empower those with physical disabilities is as vital as ever.”

The annual event showcases the inspirational athletic spirit of over 200 athletes with physical challenges competing side-by-side with 600 plus athletes without physical disabilities. From injured veterans to children born with physical disabilities, each year the CAF Community Challenge welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities for an uplifting experience that celebrates what is possible.

Friday, October 20

CAF will host an open water swim clinic at Bonita Cove Beach and an Adaptive Surf Clinic fueled by your San Diego County Toyota Dealers at Mission Bay Park. At 1:00 p.m., guests will gather at La Jolla Shores to welcome home over 164 cyclists from CAF’s Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment who will have just completed a seven-day, 620-mile bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise over two million dollars in support of CAF’s mission. Later that evening, CAF will host its annual Celebration of Abilities recognizing partners and athletes with physical disabilities from around the country for their trailblazing achievements throughout the year.

Saturday, October 21

On Saturday, CAF’s sports clinics are expected to welcome over 150 athletes with physical disabilities from across the nation who will receive expert coaching instruction and mentorship. Opportunities for participation include the Össur and CAF Running and Mobility Clinic, Adaptive Surf Clinic, Wheelchair Tennis Clinic, Adaptive Cycling Clinic, and Pool Swim Clinic.

Sunday, October 22

On Sunday, at Bonita Cove in Mission Bay, sports legends, celebrities, professional athletes, supporters and challenged athletes with physical disabilities from all over the world will gather for the Parade of Athletes just before CAF’s signature event, the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. Known as “the best day in tri” the San Diego Triathlon Challenge includes a one-mile calm bay swim, a 35-mile scenic bike ride, and a 10-mile run course through stunning Mission Bay. Other Sunday highlights include the Tour de Cove stationary cyclethon and 5K Walk, Run, and Roll and the Kids Run and Roll, for youth with physical disabilities.

As the title sponsor for the weekend, Toyota continues its longstanding commitment to supporting CAF’s mission. Toyota’s dedication to mobility and innovation aligns perfectly with CAF’s vision of empowering athletes with physical disabilities. After reaching their fitness goals, participants can recover, recharge, and relax in the Toyota Athlete Lounge, where they’ll have a unique chance to meet Team Toyota Paralympic Athletes who will be actively engaged in the festivities. The Community Challenge also offers various free activities, including the Toyota Sports Festival showcasing wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, curling, sled hockey, and rock climbing., a vendor and sponsor resource expo, food and beverage options including the local favorite, Jeffs’ Beach Burgers, volunteer opportunities, cheering throughout the day, and a photo booth to capture each unforgettable moment. The support from Toyota plays a vital role in ensuring that CAF can provide adaptive sports equipment, training, and mentorship programs to individuals around the globe.

Together, attendees will celebrate 30 years of changing lives through athlete stories and life-changing grant presentations on the main stage. There is something for everyone at the Community Challenge, including those who would like to participate virtually and raise funds for CAF.

Weekend Schedule of Events:

Friday, Oct 21 Event Location
9:00 A – 11:00 A Clinic – Open Water Swim Bonita Cove Beach
9:00 A – 12:00 P Clinic – Adaptive Surf Mission Beach Park
1:00 P (Approx) Million Dollar Challenge Ride In La Jolla Shores
6:30 P – 9:00 P Celebration of Abilities award program (invitation only) The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center
Saturday, Oct 22 Event Location
9:00 A – 12:00 P Clinic – Össur & CAF Running and Mobility Bonita Cove Park
9:00 A – 12:00P Clinic – Adaptive Surf Mission Beach Park
9:00 A – 12:00P Clinic – Adaptive Cycling West Mission Bay High School
11:00 A – 3:00 P Registration and Packet Pickup Bahia Resort
1:00 P – 4:00 P Clinic – Wheelchair Tennis Bahia Resort
1:00 P – 4:00 P Clinic – Pool Swim T. Claude & Gladys B Ryan YMCA
Sunday, Oct 23 Event Location
7:00 A Parade of Athletes Bonita Cove Park
7:40 A National Anthem performed by Samuel Nehemiah Bonita Cove Park
8:00 A San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) Swim Start Bonita Cove Park
8:30 A SDTC Bike Start – Relay, Handcycles, MDC Cyclists Bonita Cove Park
8:45 A SDTC Run Start – Racing Chairs & 10-mile Relay Bonita Cove Park
9:00 – 1:30 P Tour de Cove stationary cyclethon Start Bonita Cove Park
10:30 A Challenged Athletes Kids Run + Roll Start Bonita Cove Park
11:15 A 5K Walk, Run, and Roll Start Bonita Cove Park
2:00 P Closing Ceremony Bonita Cove Park

Community Challenge is the ultimate inclusive sports experience, breaking barriers and celebrating the power of movement. This event brings together individuals with and without physical disabilities to compete, play, and thrive together. This weekend celebrates sport’s transformative ability to change lives, build communities, and challenge perceptions about the achievements of people with permanent physical disabilities.

Registration for these events is still available: https://www.challengedathletes.org/communitychallenge/

Sponsors of the weekend’s events include:

Toyota, Dan + Geof, 100%, EOS Fitness, Smoothie King, Nike, Össur, LAZ Parking, Lusardi Construction Company, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Deloitte, XTERRA Wetsuits, Accenture, Bahia Resort Hotel, Jeffs’ Beach Burgers, San Diego Padres, Arnold Palmer Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade, Petco, Wells Fargo, San Diego County Toyota Dealers, T-Mobile Accessibility, GRIT Freedom Chair, GU, Blind Stokers Club, SockGuy, Luna Grill, Independent Trading Co., San Diego Foundation, Rainbow Sandals, ZYM, SDG&E, Cavignac & Associates, Mobility Works, Hanger Clinic, Stadium Legends, Access Trax, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Athletic Brewing, Designer Wellness, 1 Shot Energy Chews, Omius, Avalon Bay Communities, Will Perform by Serena Williams, Ross, and RISE Healthcare Group.

About Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) stands as a global leader in empowering individuals with physical disabilities to embrace vibrant, active lives. CAF firmly believes that engaging in physical activity, regardless of one’s ability level, fosters self-esteem, encourages independence, and enriches the quality of life. For three transformative decades, CAF has been at the forefront of the adaptive movement, catalyzing change, and redefining possibilities. Since its inception in 1994, CAF has raised over $159 million and fulfilled 44,000 funding requests from people with physical disabilities across all 50 states and more than 70 countries, impacting another 60,000 individuals annually through its outreach efforts. From providing essential equipment like handcycles to offering mentorship and encouragement, CAF’s mission is clear: to provide opportunities and support to those who aspire to lead active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, please visit challengedathletes.org.


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