Off to the races: Galloway Captiva Triathlon to take place Sept. 9-10
A limited amount of slots are still open for the seventh annual Galloway Captiva Triathlon that takes place at South Seas Island Resort Sept. 9-10.
Kate Gooderham, race director for the event, said the triathlon got started after Angie Ferguson, a nationally-known triathlon coach, was looking for a race for her triathletes that was well-run.
“At the time we started, there weren’t that many sprint triathlons and fewer yet that were really well-run, safe and fun and family-oriented. (Ferguson) knew about our expertise in putting on events. We had never put on a triathlon, but it’s the same skill-set,” Gooderham said.
While scouting out locations for the race several years ago, Gooderham had two attributes in mind: beautiful scenery and a family friendly atmosphere. She felt that South Seas Island Resort fit the bill.
“Every really well-done race has some attributes. If you go out west, you’re climbing mountains, if you go to different areas, they have different attributes. We talked to South Seas and they were game to help us do it,” Gooderham said.
Seven successful years later, the event attracts nearly 1,000 participants every year. A portion of the proceeds from the event goes to help Community Cooperative’s Mobile Food Pantry Program – the funds initially went to their Back Program. Since the event’s inception, the Galloway Captiva Triathlon has given over $100,000 to the foundation.
“Fast forward seven years and we have progressed significantly with our efforts to reach children and families who are what we deem ‘food insecure.’ They don’t have consistent access to food to sustain a healthy lifestyle and in many cases these families are living on one meal per day due to limited income and access. That being said we migrated away from the School Backpack Program because it wasn’t resolving any issues in the fight again food insecurity. Backpacks are a Band-Aid on a problem much larger than one child in a family not eating. We now manage a comprehensive Mobile Food Pantry Program that focuses on Growing Healthy Kids and serves approximately 6,000 kids in 4,000 households each year. The Mobile Food Pantries are in eight different locations throughout Lee County each month so we are removing a transportation barrier for these families who are struggling. In addition to the food, we have social workers and other human service agencies present at the pantries to help the entire family gain access to other resources that can help them achieve a level of financial and family stability so they no longer need to depend on emergency food programs like our Mobile Pantry. This program is has an annual cost of approximately $60,000 and the now $30,000 in triathlon proceeds has a significant impact on the success of this program,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of Community Cooperative.
Galloway said that in addition to the funds they have received from the triathlon, they have gained new volunteers and increased their advocacy outreach significantly.
“The Captiva Tri is truly the most inspirational, feel good event that we have in Lee County. I am in awe every year when I see participants as young as 6 and as old as 80 coming together to achieve not only a personal goal of completing a triathlon but a community goal of ending hunger and homelessness in Lee County,” Galloway said. “It’s humanity at its best and we need more of that in our world right now.”
Galloway Ford has been the event’s title sponsor since day one.
“They have been tremendously supportive – not only in terms of donating funds to the race, but also they provide a location for our Fort Myers packet pick up and do all the organizing for that and then they loan us a van every year which is very important for all the stuff we need to bring out to Captiva. They do a tremendous number of things for us,” Gooderham said.
The kid’s triathlon will take place Saturday morning and will be split into three age groups: 6-8, 9-10 (sold out) and 11-13. Each age group will swim, bike and run. To help relieve tension, the kid’s race isn’t timed.
“It’s a fun race – we want kids to have the experience of what a triathlon is like without putting pressure on them,” she said. “We felt jointly that kids have a lot of pressure on them and there’s a lot of areas that they can be competitive but in this particular case, we just wanted them to do it for the joy of being part of this event and not worrying about how they come in.”
The adult triathlon will take place Sunday morning where participants will complete a quarter-mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a 5K run. During the adult race, Captiva Drive will be closed from 6:45 to 8:45 a.m.
“Safety is a very big thing for us,” Gooderham said.
Gooderham said that people from all over Florida sign up for the triathlon. People even travel as far as Michigan and New York to compete in the event.
“What we want is to make it a family-oriented event. With having a kid’s event and an adult’s event, both groups get to see each other,” Gooderham said.
To sign up or for more information, go to captivatri.org.