Are you considering ways to get in shape in the new year? Want to make 2017 the year that you can finally check off “triathlon” on your bucket list?
Joining Team Endure is the first step in making it happen, and you’ll be supporting Oregon Cancer Foundation at the same time.
The team gives people with different fitness levels an opportunity to come together and experience something extraordinary—to push themselves out of their comfort zone and test both their physical and mental endurance, as well as their will and determination.
“This team is smartly coached. It doesn’t seem possible that I should be able to do a triathlon, but the training goals have been achievable,” says Dan Johnston, who competed in his first triathlon with Team Endure last June. “Without the support from this incredible team, I don’t think I’d have had the gumption to do it on my own.”
Team Endure trains year-round, participating in events like century bike rides, triathlons and half marathons, but its primary focus is the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival, which will be held June 23-25 in Sunriver, Oregon. Team members compete in the Olympic Distance triathlon, consisting of a .9-mile swim, a 28-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run, or can choose the Half Ironman triathlon—a 1.2-mile swim, a 58-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.
Team members don’t take on this challenge just for their own benefit. They do it to lend a hand, raise awareness and support patients undergoing cancer treatment in Lane County. Since 2014, Team Endure has raised over $50,000 to support Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance program.
Most team members have a personal connection to cancer—a family member, friend or co-worker who’s had the disease—and they understand that people diagnosed with cancer often find themselves in a financially tough place.
“Patients often have to make really hard life choices, like whether to buy groceries or figure out how to pay the rent,” says OCF’s executive director Amy Johnston. “And those are situations where we can step in, and we can provide them with funding that will help them, to pay their rent, to pay their utility bill or to pay for their groceries.”
“Cancer touches everyone in some way,” says Jackie Jae Cowsill, who got involved with Team Endure after her husband, Jason, joined in 2015. “I’ve lost six family members and a beloved high school teacher to cancer, and I’ve watched other friends and family members successfully beat it.” As administrative support, Jackie provides information and tools to help team members meet both their physical and fundraising goals. In addition, as the musical duo Jackie Jae and Jason Cowsill, Jackie and her husband have volunteered their time to perform at other OCF fundraising events.
“Aside from the great cause we’re supporting, everyone involved with Team Endure has huge hearts and gives of themselves generously. It’s life enhancing just to be surrounded by such positive spirits. I think anyone joining the team will feel the same way,” Jackie says.
Team Endure will begin training in late January, meeting for runs on Saturday mornings. As the season progresses, they will add opportunities to swim and bike as they build strength and endurance.
“Many people join the team with their only physical goal being, ‘I just want to finish,'” Jackie says. “You don’t have to worry about holding anyone back or letting anyone down—each person has their own goals and strives to do their personal best. It doesn’t matter how that compares to anyone else. The whole team is there supporting you and cheering you on. You’re running your own race, but you’re never alone.”