Scott Ransom calls triathlons “a pretty ‘selfish’ sport,” because of the independent training and motivation. But athletes like Ransom are hardly selfish people because as they use their drive and determination to push their bodies to the limit and to succeed, they are also raising funds for worthy causes. To that end, Ransom recently joined Team USO to raise funds through his participation in the Janus Charity Challenge and Ironman Wisconsin.
“I wanted to help the USO support the troops, and I wanted to feel like I was doing something for the troops when I was training and racing,” said Ransom, 51, from Golden Valley, Minn. “You can put a lot more effort into anything when there is the underlying thought that you’re doing it for others as well as yourself.”
Ransom is an IT engineer for Target and has been doing triathlons for 12 years. He does approximately five or six local triathlons a year — “the shorter, ‘sane’ distance triathlons” he said, often comprised of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. The Ironman World Championships on Oct. 8 in Kona, Hawaii, are next on his list. These are the “insane” ones which require swimming 2.4-miles (3.86 kms), biking 112-miles (180.25 kms) and running a marathon. The event can take anywhere from nine to 17 hours to complete.
Ironman Hawaii, as it’s sometimes called, is known for its high winds and high temperatures and provides a tremendous test of an athlete’s fortitude.
“The competition is way tougher than any other race out there,” he said. “Kona is known as a ‘dream crusher’ and a big part of that is the heat.”
For Ransom, the immense challenge presents another way to give back to the USO.
“I retired from the Army National Guard several years ago. I was never was activated or sent overseas, but I know many who were. I know how the USO can bring a touch of home to those far away.”
Ransom said the benefits of competing for the USO are not a one-way street. Being able to empathize with what soldiers are tasked with helps Ransom in his commitment to training and conditioning.
“Doing something for others as opposed to just oneself is a definite motivator. You can push yourself harder. Heck, even getting out of bed for an early morning workout, I think to myself about soldiers, past and present, who have woken up in a cold foxhole. It’s not even a fair comparison, but I say to myself that if they can do that; I can at least do this.”
On the fundraising side, Ransom said that people should understand that it’s not the size of the donation given, but the act of giving.
“Just do it,” he said. “I’m sure that the USO appreciates even small fundraising amounts. Don’t think that your efforts and results would be so small as to not be worth it.”
Team USO is a way for Americans to support our troops and their families by raising funds and spreading awareness of the programs and services that the USO provides. Learn more about Team USO and check out Scott Ransom on Team USO. — By Christian Pelusi, USO