The sport of triathlon is largely a solo pursuit of personal achievement. In other words, it’s selfish. However, I’ve been impressed over and over again at the generosity that occurs when one of our own is in trouble. This weekend in The Woodlands, TX a group of triathletes and friends gathered to support Amy Marsh, who is battling Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She and her husband, recently retired pro triathlete, Brandon Marsh, have a lot of medical bills to pay, and because neither one of them is racing, there isn’t much income coming in.
Lars Finanger was the driving force behind the event. Lars wears a lot of hats: manager, agent, event director and ad salesman for Slowtwitch. He doesn’t manage Brandon or Amy, but he wanted to do something to help his friends and help out he did. He leveraged a lot of his connections in order to get items donated for the auction. He made countless phone calls marketing the event and getting some big names to show up. In the end, an envelope with over $15,000 in cash was handed over to our friends Brandon and Amy. None of this would have happened without Lars. There isn’t a better guy in the entire sport.
In addition to Amy, there were 4 additional Ironman Champions there to ride and show support:
- Balazs Csoke
- Chris McDonald
- Kelly Williamson
- Scott Neydeli
Tim Reed, one of the best athletes in the 70.3 circuit show up with budgie smugglers to auction. Not the ones he was wearing – that’s against the law in Texas. Big Sexy, Balazs, Kelly and many other athletes also donated items for the auction like signed kits (Jordan Rapp and Melissa Hauschildt), helmets worn in Kona (Rachel Joyce). These are just a few items and people that I can recall right now. There are too many items and people to list.
Also making an unannounced surprise appearance was disgraced cyclist former private jet owner, Lance Armstrong. Hate on him all you want, but his presence meant a lot not only to Amy and Brandon, but also to many of the unsuspecting participats who rode with the 7 Time Tour de France winner. His appearance was a well-kept secret.
In addition to the pro athletes mentioned above, a number of Wallstreet
douchebags triathlon enthusiasts flew in to drop loads of money on auction items. Hate on Wallstreet all you want, but they stepped up big time. Mitchell Hall, a Navy Seal, Silver Star recipient and stud cyclist/triathlete flew in from California to mark the occasion. Mitch is a giver. Newbie pro Brad Williams rode strong and then got me out of a speeding ticket on the way back to Austin (future TRS Radio bonus content). Local Houston pro, Leslie LaMacchia, pulled a group of exhausted Moxie Multisport members around the course. TRS Racing was well represented with Zach Boring and Zach Miller in attendance.
In addition to the money raised, roughly 50 people had their cheeks swabbed, adding their name to the list of registered potential bone marrow donors. One or more of these 50 people could save a life with this simple act. To learn about registering on your own, visit http://www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en or http://www.sharingamericasmarrow.com/.
Amy was in terrific spirits, she looked fantastic and her smile lit up the parking lot. Things might get harder before they get easier, but she’s strong, determined and a total bad-ass. For crying out loud, she may or may not have won Ironman 70.3 Raleigh with this disease in her system. We’ll never know for sure if that was the case. Regardless, if I were this cancer, I would just quit now. She’s got more determination and endurance in her left toe than this AML could ever dream of. Fuck cancer. Fuck AML.
I’m not always proud to be a triathlete, but I was this weekend. People from all over the world lent a helping hand and showed a lot of love and support. Special thanks again to our host, VR Cycling Studio, Southcoast Endurance and all of the Texas Triathlon Clubs that pitched in. It was a total team effort from what I can gather.
If you weren’t able to attend, but want to help out, you can make a donation by visiting http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/amy-marsh-s-cancer-care-fund/287588?utm_source=widget.
If you want a Endurance Conspiracy tee shirt from the event, there are still a few left over. Email Lars at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, I am donating 100% of the purchase price (not just proceeds) for all TRS Merchandise to Team Marsh for the rest of the week and weekend. Click on the store link above and #RockTheCock for Amy.