"There are numerous facts and figures about how much more a farmer can carry, how much farther an aid worker can travel, or how much faster a student can get to school. But ultimately, all that data shows the same thing — $134 can change someone’s world forever."
Profesisonal Triathlete, Jordan Rapp, sets his bar pretty high. His standard? Not just winning IRONMAN events but winning with a philanthropic spirit. Jordan, whose IRONMAN victories include 2009 IRONMAN Arizona and 2009 and 2011 IRONMAN Canada, leaves more than a victorious imprint on the courses he races; he leaves a victorious imprint in communities in rural Zambia through his annual Rappstar Charity Challenge for World Bicycle Relief (WBR), an organization whose mission is to provide access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles.
WBR first met Jordan at Interbike 2009 when Zipp extended the invite to their sponsored athletes to sign autographs at the WBR booth. “Jordan came and signed autographs with us for 2 hours and during that time he learned more about our work and left saying that he was going to organize a charity challenge that involved his sponsors”, said Katie Bolling, Director of Grassroots Fundraising for World Bicycle Relief. “Two weeks later, Jordan had an amazing challenge up and running which blew us away. He took the ball and ran with it. To say it was impressive to see an athlete at his level dedicate time to our mission is an understatement. Jordan was a living testimony that, despite how busy we think we are, there is always time to give back.” In 2009, Jordan set his sights pretty high with his fundraiser of wanting to raise $15,000, enough to fund an entire school (100 bikes and the training of two field mechanics) through WBR’s Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) that will provide 50,000 bikes to rural secondary-aged school students in Zambia who face challenging commutes to/from school - often walking 2-3 hours each way. “Once Jordan recognized he would achieve his goal, he raised his target. That’s the kind of person he is. His effort was extraordinary that first year and his final tally was $23,000. Jordan funded a school but, more importantly, he provided hope for hundreds of Zambian school children…and he did that while actually going on to win the race. That’s the definition a true champion.”
Coming off two major victories in 2009, 2010 looked like another promising year for Rapp’s career. However, in March of 2010, Jordan suffered a major setback when he was involved in a nearly fatal hit and run bicycle accident in California. “From that point on, there was no talk of his charity challenge or racing”, said Bolling, “the entire SRAM, Zipp and WBR family was just concerned for Jordan’s well being. We were extremely happy to learn that he would regain his health”. Despite the massive trauma Jordan underwent, he showed the triathlon community what an inspiration he is and was at the start of the 2010 IRONMAN Arizona when he toed the line only 8 months after his accident. Furthermore, he found time once again, despite the adversity that he was faced with, to organize his second annual Rappstar Charity Challenge for WBR. In 2010, he engaged his sponsors and supporters to a new standard and went on to raise $35,000 while finishing with at an impressive 4th place in Arizona.
Now Jordan is back once again. In true Jordan-style, he’s committed to a higher fundraising number. This year, his 3rd annual Rappstar Charity Challenge for WBR and is partnering with the IRONMAN Foundation, has the goal of raising $40,000 for World Bicycle Relief which, when accomplished, will bring his total funds raised to the $100,000 range. “He’s now funded 450 bikes in Zambia. He’s winning races and changing lives through giving back through what he loves”, says Bolling. “He recognizes that through just $134, the price of one WBR bike and a fraction of the cost of his racing bike, that a life can be changed and he’s involving the entire IRONMAN community. It’s a special story and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”
Stay tuned for information from the IRONMAN Foundation and Slowtwitch.com on how you can be a part of the Rappstar’s Charity Challenge.