Service project with Larkfield Resilience Fund and Gold Star Initiative are part of more than $70,000 in charitable giveback in the greater Santa Rosa region
TAMPA, Fla. (May 6, 2019) – In conjunction with the IRONMAN® Santa Rosa triathlon, the IRONMAN Foundation® will continue its mission of creating tangible impact in IRONMAN race communities this week in Santa Rosa. In partnership with the Larkfield Resilience Fund, the IRONMAN Foundation will conduct a hands-on service project presented by HOKA ONE ONE. Service project volunteers will assist in the removal of debris and environmental restoration along the bank of Mark West Creek, an area completely devastated by the Tubbs Wildfire in October 2017. The service project will take place on Thursday, May 9 at 9:00 a.m. and bring together IRONMAN staff, athletes, ambassadors and partners, as well as staff from HOKA ONE ONE.
“The neighbors of Larkfield would like to thank the IRONMAN Foundation, volunteer athletes and staff for generously donating their time to help our neighborhoods recover,” said Mike Holdner, Larkfield Resilience Fund Block Captain for Mark West Estates. “It has been 17 months since the Tubbs fire destroyed our neighborhoods in Larkfield. During that time, we have gone through many different phases of the recovery, but one constant has been the support of our local community in moving forward with rebuilding our houses and our lives. Projects like this remind us that we are not in this alone and that the wider community is there to support us in our recovery.”
“HOKA ONE ONE is honored to be able to support IRONMAN, the IRONMAN Foundation, and the process of rebuilding together,” said Wendy Yang, President of HOKA ONE ONE. “Our connection to the IRONMAN community, especially in our home state of California, goes well beyond the race itself, and it is humbling to see everyone come together to provide relief to our neighbors and friends.”
Highlighted service project volunteers include:
- Three-time IRONMAN World Champion triathlete and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Mirinda Carfrae.
- Marine Corps veteran and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Mike Ergo, who will also serve as the Gold Star Initiative Athlete at IRONMAN Santa Rosa.
- IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Derek Fitzgerald was the first American heart transplant recipient and cancer survivor to complete a full-distance IRONMAN race.
“IRONMAN is about creating a sense of community, and through the support and generosity of our athletes and partners like HOKA ONE ONE, we hope to be able to make a difference in Santa Rosa’s continued recovery from the wildfires,” said Sarah Hartmann, Executive Director of the IRONMAN Foundation. “It will be a highlight to work with the Larkfield Resilience Fund to restore the Mark West Creek area and encourage our athletes to join us.”
Additionally, IRONMAN Santa Rosa will host the Gold Star Initiative, a program in partnership between the IRONMAN Foundation and wear blue: run to remember, a national nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. Through the Gold Star Initiative, IRONMAN athletes who have served in the U.S. military will carry the American flag during the run portion of the event and present it to a Gold Star Family. This program allows athletes to play a part in the healing process of those families who have lost a loved one in the name of freedom.
IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Mike Ergo will carry the flag in honor of Marine Corps Corporal Mick Bekowsky of Concord, California, who served as an 0351 Assaultman with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines from 2001 until he was killed in action on September 6th, 2004 in Iraq. Ergo will present the flag to Mick’s mother, Joan Bekowsky, at the finish line. As his mother recalls, “Mick was dedicated to his family and he was dedicated to the service.”
To further support the healing process, Gold Star families will be provided with support to participate in the wear blue Gold Star Race program, providing them with access to training, support, and entry into various running events, empowering them to process their grief and heal though running.
The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN and IRONMAN® 70.3® events are held. In 2019 the IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $1.8 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities. This year’s grant funding brings the total giveback to more than $300,000 in the Santa Rosa region in conjunction with IRONMAN Santa Rosa and IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa.
More information on the service project, including registration, can be found by visiting www.ironmanfoundation.org/santa-rosa.
About the IRONMAN Foundation
The IRONMAN Foundation® creates positive, tangible change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $50,000,000 has been provided through IRONMAN charitable giveback programs including the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 8,300 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series athletes are powerfully linked to the community and together we leave the IRONMAN legacy behind in our race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town™, Your Journey Your Cause, and Women For Tri, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.
About HOKA ONE ONE
HOKA ONE ONE® is the fastest growing premium running shoe brand in the world. Two life-long runners launched HOKA in 2009, after years spent handcrafting and shaping lightweight shoes with extra-thick midsoles. Initially embraced by ultrarunners because of their enhanced cushioning and inherent stability, HOKA now offers shoes for all types of athletes who enjoy the unique ride the shoes provide. For more information visit hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #timetofly.
As part of Wanda Sports Holdings, the IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, trail running like Ultra-Trail Australia™, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.