Racing for a cause

Warrington Cares’ 4th annual Sprint Triathlon will benefit local families and charities on Sept. 8

On your mark: Warrington Cares’ fourth annual Sprint Triathlon, which is comprised of a 300-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride and 5K run, is set for Sunday, Sept. 8, with a start time of 7 a.m. Source: Ilena Di Toro

In 2014, Warrington Township manager Barry Luber had one mission in mind – to help community members in need. In order to fulfill this philanthropic goal, Luber, with the backing of numerous municipal employees from local police, fire and parks and recreation departments, formed the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Warrington Cares.

When creating the organization, Luber never imagined the massive, positive impact it would have on the township and its surrounding areas. To date, Warrington Cares has financially assisted everyone from high school seniors going off to college, to low-income families unable to purchase gifts for their children during the holidays.

These initiatives are made possible thanks to various fundraising events hosted by Warrington Cares, including its large-scale Sprint Triathlon. This year, the fourth annual 300-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride and 5K run is set for Sunday, Sept. 8, with a start time of 7 a.m.

“Our Triathlon is an exciting event that brings participants back year after year. They really love the course,” said Luber. “Whether you are an athlete or like to watch from the sidelines, we invite you to come out on Sept. 8 to be a part of this event.”

Over the past three years, the Sprint Triathlon has raised more than $45,000. Proceeds, according to Luber, are usually distributed to four causes.

Each year, $1,000 is contributed to a college fund for Ian Bennett, the son of late police officer Timothy J. Bennett, who suffered a fatal heart attack on his birthday 10 years ago. Two $2,500 scholarships are awarded to Warrington teens planning to attend college or a technical school. A portion of funds also goes to local nonprofits that help the people of Bucks County, such as the Doylestown-based A Woman’s Place, which aids victims of domestic violence.

“The proceeds go right back into the mission of these different causes,” said Luber, adding that Warrington Cares purposefully chooses grassroots organizations as recipients rather than national ones.

Another portion of the Sprint Triathlon proceeds goes to those in need during the holidays. Warrington Cares receives a list of up to 10 families from the Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency, and the nonprofit surprises each with a $1,000 gift card from Walmart to use for presents, groceries or other essentials.

The remainder of the funds goes to residents in need, who are often recommended to Luber by police officers or concerned neighbors.

Recently, $1,000 was given to a man who sustained a compound fracture in his leg after falling from a ladder while trimming a tree. After the injury got infected, he was flown to Penn Presbyterian Hospital. There, he lost his leg, spent 48 days in a coma, and is currently on the path to recovery. Though his job is being held for him while he learns to walk on his new prosthetic leg, Luber said the money will help his family pay the bills until he returns to work.

“It’s a local-based charity that’s helping local-based families. We try to keep it in the community, but it’s not necessarily restricted to just Warrington,” Luber said of Warrington Cares. “The scholarships are. They’re given to Warrington residents. But families in need, we would expand our reach if we needed to.”

At the Sprint Triathlon, Luber hopes to raise at least $20,000.

The course begins at the Mary Barness Tennis and Swim Club, 2501 Freedoms Way, where participants complete the swimming portion of the race. Next, they jump on bikes and ride along Elbow Lane and Pickertown Road before turning around and following the same course back to the swim club. The race concludes with a 5K run through the neighborhood. Timekeeping will be conducted by DQ Events.

A maximum of 200 people are expected to compete in the Sprint Triathlon, with medals awarded at the end to top finishers in a variety of age and gender categories. Both experienced triathletes and newcomers are invited.

“We get both the serious athletes and the ones running just for fun,” Luber said.

Both advanced and day-of registration is available. All who sign up receive a T-shirt, bag and participation medal. Cost is $85 for the Triathlon, $80 for the Duathlon, $80 for the Aquavelo and $115 for the Triathlon Relay.

To register, visit runsignup.com/Race/PA/Warrington/WarringtonSprintTriathlonDuathlon. If your business would like to sponsor the event, contact Andy Oles, director of Parks and Recreation, at Aoles@warringtontownship.org. For more information on Warrington Cares, visit warringtoncares.org ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com