A Spanish Fork father and daughter are preparing to compete at Ironman Texas on May 16 of this year. The Ironman is a triathlon that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. All three events must be completed within a 17-hour time limit. As if the race itself were not challenging enough, Dave Heywood and his daughter, Gabrielle, have taken on the extra dimension of raising funds through their efforts. They are hoping to raise at least $10,000 for Save The Children, a well-known organization that provides education, medical treatment, food, shelter and other needs for at-risk children in over 120 countries around the world, including the United States.
“Triathlon can be a selfish endeavor,” said Dave Heywood. “We wanted our time spent training to mean something more than just time focused on ourselves and our fitness.” Heywood estimates that the training plan he and Gabrielle are following will cause them to cover well over 1,000 miles each as they swim, bike and run toward their goal.
Gabrielle said, “I’m going to graduate from high school this spring, but I’ve had this feeling I want to do something bigger that just graduate. When my dad told me that Ironman Texas was two weeks before my graduation, I thought it was the perfect thing. Then when he told me we could use our training to raise funds for Save The Children, I was sold. We are inviting people to match our miles with money. If someone were to donate one penny for each of the miles in our combined training plan, that would be a $20 donation. A dime per mile would be a $200 dollar donation. Any size donation really helps.”
Fundraising isn’t always a part of the training for races like this, but for the Heywoods it has become integral to their efforts and increases their motivation. Gabrielle said, “Sometimes my dad and I have to get up at 4:15 in the morning to get to the gym for an indoor bike ride or a swim. That’s not easy, but when I think of little children around the world we are helping with our fundraising, it motivates me and I get out of bed.”
“I’m really proud of Gabrielle,” Heywood said. “She is dedicated to making this happen, for herself and for the children. There are not a lot of teenagers who would make this kind of sacrifice.”
For more information on the race and the fundraising effort, search Facebook using the hashtag #wetrainkidsgain or search Youtube.com for the video entitled “Saving Lives Through Triathlon.”
Gabrielle and Dave Heywood of Spanish Fork are raising money for at-risk children while training for a triathlon in May.