SOUTH PORTLAND – The Tri for a Cure, Maine’s only all-women’s triathlon, will begin its annual registration lottery on Thursday, Jan. 31.
“We’re thrilled to invite everyone back for our sixth year,” said Julie Marchese, director of the South Portland-based race and a longtime cancer survivor. “We’ve worked hard to expand the event but there’s still a limit to how many athletes the course can fit. We think the lottery is the fairest way to give everyone a chance.”
In past years, registration for the popular fundraiser would sell out in minutes.
“It was a real challenge,” said Kelly Martin, event manager for Maine Cancer Foundation. “We would open up the registration at midnight and all the computers would crash because so many people were trying to sign up.”
The Tri for a Cure is a “sprint” triathlon, based on a 1/3-mile swim, a 15-mile bike course and a 3-mile run. Many of the athletes in the race belong to teams, with each leg of the race tackled by a different woman.
“These women are the main focus of the Tri, but I like to remember all the people standing behind them,” said Marchese. “There are thousands of donors and volunteers supporting the athletes. That’s part of what makes this race so special, you can support the Tri for a Cure in a lot of ways.”
The race, located on the Southern Maine Community College campus, places special focus on women who have survived cancer or who are undergoing treatment.
“The first wave of the race is our survivor group,” said Marchese. “It is so inspiring to see these women leading the race. It’s not an easy decision to join a triathlon, it’s a real commitment.”
According to Marchese, entering the Tri for a Cure is often the start of a major life change for the participants.
“Healthy lifestyles are the key to lowering Maine’s cancer rate and prevention is a vital piece of that puzzle,” she said. “Every time a woman decides to eat right and exercise, cancer takes another hit.”
The success of the Tri for a Cure has generated significant dollars to fund the fight against cancer in Maine, raising more than $1.2 million last year from a combination of individual fundraising and corporate sponsorship.
“Each of our athletes commits to raising at least $350,” said Marchese. “Of course, some raise much more. Our top fundraiser last year raised nearly $10,000.”
Other contributions come from area businesses, including South Portland-based WEX Inc..
“WEX has come on board as our presenting sponsor with a donation of $50,000,” said Peter King, development director for Maine Cancer Foundation. “We are very grateful to have this level of support from the business community. Cancer is an issue that affects all of us.“
The Tri for a Cure lottery registration will be open from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, with winners announced on Feb. 4. The lottery can be accessed on the Tri for a Cure website. All proceeds from this event are used to support the work of Maine Cancer Foundation, providing grant funding for cancer research, education and patient support programs across the state of Maine.
For more information, go to www.triforacure.org.