The Ironman Foundation recently invited a Florida lawyer to participate as a featured athlete in the organization’s Canada race in Whistler, BC, Canada.
Mike Bedke, who was selected as one of three inaugural world ambassadors for World Bicycle Relief several months ago, planned to represent the organization as the race’s official charity partner. (This News went to press before the race, set for August 25.)
“This is a new venue for Ironman in Whistler. There’s a lot of excitement about it, and I was thrilled when the Ironman Foundation selected WBR to be the charity of choice for this event,” Bedke said.
“It’s also exciting because WBR is just moving into the Canadian market. They just got the equivalent of a 501(c)(3) in Canada.”
Founded in 2005, WBR has supplied specially designed, locally assembled, ruggedized bikes to more than 120,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Costing $134 each, the bicycles provide transportation that opens doors to a wide array of life-changing opportunities — access to clean water and natural resources, health care and disease eradication, education, and entrepreneurship and economic vitality.
Challenged to raise $15,900 for WBR, Bedke, a lawyer with DLA Piper in Tampa, had collected more than $12,000 days before the race when this News went to press.
“We’re closing in on it,” Bedke said. “Frankly, I’m more optimistic now than ever that we’ll surpass that by a pretty good margin.”
The Ironman Foundation also raised $35,000 for WBR by auctioning off a slot at the October 12 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Bedke participated in a press conference August 22 and addressed several thousand triathletes at a mandatory meeting for race participants the next day.
Bedke challenged the athletes to contribute to WBR with a promise to match their contributions in some way.
In addition to Ironman Canada, Bedke has several other appearances planned this year to raise money for WBR with athletic events, local bar associations, and civic groups.
To learn more about World Bicycle Relief, visit http://action.worldbicyclerelief.org/page/outreach/view/individual/MikeBedke.