What sparks a PDF Champion’s desire to complete a triathlon for Parkinson’s research? For Mark Macenas of Durham, NC, who completed the Wilmington Sprint Triathlon on September 19, it was watching his dad’s fight with Parkinson’s disease.
And for this avid athlete, the 1,500-meter swim, 12-mile bike ride and 5K run weren’t challenging enough. Mark, a firefighter and EMT of more than 14 years, also wore his full firefighting gear (decked out in PDF stickers) for a portion of the race. Mark has since raised more than $2,200 for PDF.
Hear from Mark about his experience and why it is important for him to give back as a PDF Champion. And don’t miss a video about his efforts, featured on his local TV station.
Q. What inspired you to complete a triathlon to benefit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation?
A. A few years ago, my hero (my Dad) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. There has been nothing more frustrating for me than watching my father in pain and knowing that there is no cure. By wearing my firefighting gear for the 5K run, my hope was to raise even more funds for Parkinson’s research and awareness. I believe it will help give my father the strength to fight his disease.
A. I had previously completed seven half marathons and four triathlons. I spent five months training for this race which was my first one for Parkinson’s. The most challenging part for me was running in my fire department gear with my helmet and air pack in the 90-degree heat of a North Carolina summer!
Q. Do you have any tips for PDF Champions or those thinking about joining?
A. Social media is by far the best means of gaining donations! If you’re going to take on an endurance race, you must train properly and stay hydrated as well as eat a healthy diet.
Q. What was the response from friends and family to your race? Was it a rewarding experience to raise awareness and funds for PD research?
My initial goal was to raise $1,000 for PDF, but the response was even more incredible [Editor’s note: Mark has now raised $2,290]! I had so much support from my friends and family. The applause I received when crossing the finish line was amazing.
This is only the beginning of my relationship with PDF. It’s been an amazing adventure.