It’s time to do something charitable with this project. I’ve been told by a few folks that this blog can be inspiring. That’s humbling, since I see REAL inspiration all around in people overcoming hardcore obstacles. I’m just a fat guy who decided to try and be less fat, and can’t shut up about it.

So since I do have a few folks paying attention, it’s time to hit you up for donations to a cause. There is a race to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Heart Center. Why something so far away? We have a fine children’s hospital nearby, and there are Relay for Life events all summer in the valley.

It so happens that this particular event is a 5k swim, on a Saturday morning in August. Does that ring a bell to any blog readers? Last August, I entered a 5k swim on an August Saturday, and did not finish. I have unfinished business. That swim was moved to a Sunday this year, so I was really on the fence about taking off 1/4 of my vacation time for it. On a lark, I went to the US Masters Swimming website, and did a search for events.

I found the Open Water Swim Challenge 5k. It is Sunday August 11th, and 100% of the donations go directly to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Heart Center.

The organizer of the event is a world-class distance swimmer, Darren Miller. To me, 5k is quite a distance. To Darren, it’s a light warmup. He most recently did the Manhattan marathon swim (28.5 miles) and in May, swam the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Morocco). Fewer people have done that than have ascended Everest. Darren is attempting to become the first person to complete the “Ocean’s Seven” challenge. After a trip to Japan this summer, he will be five for seven, with a targeted August 2013 final swim of the North Channel. He has a great blog here.

Darren does a lot of charity work too, and this event is his baby. I sent an email with some questions, and he called me back personally to make sure I had all my answers. I knew I wanted to be part of this event.

I have a goal of $1000. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that though 100% of donations go the fund, there are a couple incentives for swimmers. Nothing huge – a tshirt, a towel, an ipod raffle ticket. But for $1000, you get dinner with Darren. I’d love to pick the brain of someone with this resume.

So while this isn’t a triathlon, it has three great elements for me:

1. raise money for children’s health

2. move on from a disappointing DNF (my first, not my last)

3. maybe get to spend some time with an endurance champion.

The great thing is, you dear reader need only care about element #1. The rest is secondary.

The event has a website to do direct donations. Then I’m not taking your cash or check. (But if you see me in person and hand me something, I’ll get it to the fund.) You can donate anonymously or put your name on it.

Just like a political campaign, I’d love to see a few big checks from the big donors who can afford it. But really, a string of folks with $5-10 donations would mean just as much.

Visit the site and donate today.



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