Two weekends ago, Oceana spent three days (working) on Zuma Beach for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. After months of athletic training, weeks of fundraising and two days of competition, Oceana's fourteen athletes and seven volunteers exceeded all our expectations (see the slideshow).
On Saturday, four coed relay teams and two individuals represented Team Oceana for the Olympic Distance race (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run). While the point was to have fun and help raise money for Oceana's conservation programs, Team Oceana stepped up to earn competitive accolades too. Age group champion and Ironman triathlete Julia Van Cleave took first place in her division while the relay team of Trent MacLean, Liza Dunham and Gary Schechner took second place and the relay team of Lauren Saez, Dan Ovando and Justin Whittet took fourth place.
On Sunday, three athletes raced as individuals in the Classic Distance race (.5 mi swim, 18 mi bike, 4 mi run). It wasn't easy, but Louis Linsmeyer, Nautica South Beach Triathlon veteran Julie Leonardo and I all completed our respective Pacific Ocean swims, PCH bike rides and beach front runs. We fed off the crowd's energy all day, which was tremendous, bolstered by the presence of 3000 athletes and dozens of celebrities like Jeremy Piven and William H. Macy.
Over the course of both days, seven wonderful volunteers joined Kevin at the Oceana booth to talk to event patrons about our work to protect sharks, sea turtles and the Outer Continental Shelf from offshore oil drilling. On Sunday, Jeremy Piven even stopped by to learn more about our work.
Malibu's race concludes Team Oceana's circuit for 2009, but there's more great events in the works for 2010, beginning with the Nautica South Beach Triathlon in April. Until then, a big thank you is in order for Team Oceana's athletes and volunteers and Nautica for their financial and emotional support (thanks Nina, Jen, Ros and Wendy for cheering me on!).