Ironman Louisville Recap!
October 22, 2017
BENEFITING: TWELVE OAKS FOUNDATION
RACING FOR A GREATER PURPOSE
Greetings everyone! For those of you that don't know me, my name is Dave Bartoszewski. I'm a husband, father, sales professional, acomplished Triathlete, and Coach. I've been running/racing since I was a freshman in High School. My triathlon resume began in 2005 when I raced in my first triathlon. It was an off road, mountain bike style race. I almost drowned in the swim, my bike broke beyond repair with 1 mile to go on the bike course, and I sprained my ankle badly on the run a half mile in. I didn't finish...yet, I was HOOKED. Fast foward to toaday, I've completed 6 Ironman traithlons, including the World Championships in Kona. I've raced and finished 10 open marathons, and have competed in over 100 other running and triathlons along the way. This sport is my passion and most certainly a lifestyle. It inspires many, changes lives for the better, and I'm proud to be an active member in the community.
After my last Ironman in 2014 (Chattanooga), I took a little time to dial things back. As a new father with 2 little ones, I needed a bit of a break from the "long stuff." So I took a couple years to do short distance racing and focus on other areas of my life and Coaching. Unfortunately, in July of last year I hit a motorcycle head on during a race on the bike. I was traveling at roughly 25mph so it wasn't pretty. I was VERY lucky to walk away...but it effectively ruined my season. I had a choice to make at the time...let the crash get the best of me, or use it as fuel to get back to my old self. I owed it to myself, my family, my friends, and my athletes to not make any excuses and get back at it.
Last year before the bike crash, I really started to enjoy riding and running longer distances again. It has been a few years since I’ve done Ironman and for some reason, which I question often haha, I got the itch to do it again. While it would be awesome to get back to Kona, the reality is that it will take a perfect day to get there. Even though it has only been a couple years, the game is faster and stronger. So we will see.
I would be lying if I haven’t struggled with consistent motivation for Ironman Louisville in October. Ironman is a monumental effort in all facets of life and you really need to be 100% IN, to reach your potential. While searching inward for the motivation to smash the training, I was very lucky to be introduced to Julie and Elizabeth from the 12 Oaks Foundation. For those that have known me for a while, I’ve only run once in the 100+ events I’ve done for a cause. Running for my sister in the 2014 Chicago Marathon was a humbling experience that I enjoyed immensely.
When Julie and Elizabeth reached out and asked if I would be interested in being an ambassador for 12 Oaks, I was hesitant at first to be honest. Those of you that know me, know I’m REALLY busy. Family, work, coaching, and my own training take a tremendous amount of time and effort. How could I possibly fit one more “obligation” in? Then I read Matt’s story. I was instantly touched. Being a father of two, giving back to children is something I’ve grown very passionate about and try to help whenever I can.
Matt was a young, energetic athlete full of life at 12 years old. Involved in team sports, winter sports, and running…Matt was a boy that I hope my Mason and Lyla grow to be like, as well. Unfortunately, Matt lost his battle with cancer at the very young age of 13. I can’t even imagine the thought. While there are many phenomenal options to help and donate to the war on cancer, I found 12 Oaks particularly touching in how they help the families that are fighting these circumstances. The reality is that life stops for the entire family. As Julie states on the website, they wanted to do more for their other kids, but were financially and emotionally tapped.
12 Oaks is an organization that helps to defray the costs of sports and community programs for the children of families suffering financial hardship. A very noble cause and one that I’m proud to be a part of. Here is a quick note on why I was asked to be a part of this cause:
“Last year our founder, Julie Hupp did an Ironman in honor of what would have been her son Matt’s 21st birthday. Her “Iron Journey” of both training and race day inspired so many people on so many levels, in addition to the $20,000 she raised for the foundation. Our goal is to recruit Ironman triathletes annually to choose 12 Oaks Foundation as their “Charity of Choice” in honor of Matt, and for the children who need our help to stay in their activities while a family member is being treated for cancer. You see, Matt was a budding young triathlete and gifted athletically, and we all knew he would be an Ironman someday.”
Julie and Elizabeth asked if I would be their 1st Ironman Ambassador to carry on the “Iron Journey” memory of Matt. I could not be more proud to do so. So on October 15th, I will be competing in Ironman Louisville for my family, for myself, for my support crew, and for Matt.
I could not be more excited to be racing for something bigger than myself and to help children in need achieve a little bit of happiness and health in trying times. As with everything I do, I will be setting a goal (for fundraising) and I hope you choose to help along the way.
Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and then a full 26.2 marathon...all in one day. 140.6 miles of racing! My goal is to raise $25 per mile of the race for a total of $3515 for the 12 Oaks Foundation. While the race is only one day, the impact of the donations will carry on.
More can be found about the 12 Oaks Foundation at the link below.
Thank you to Julie and Elizabeth for including me on this “Iron Journey.” I’m proud and humbled to be a part of it.