Booty_2011Supporting two charities at the same time seemed like a win-win for riders Katie Wirth and Sarah Costello, who have joined forces this year to create a Girls on the Run team at 24 Foundation to not only fight cancer, but encourage women to give back. This year will be Katie Wirth’s fifth year participating in  24 Foundation in Columbia, MD. She first learned of 24 Foundation when a vice president at her company on the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults Board of Directors  suggested that her colleagues form a team to rally around a fellow coworker, Mike, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Although she did not own a bike at the time, her coworkers nominated her as team captain in 2011. She has headed a team since then and this year she is participating as a co-captain with fellow rider and captain Sarah Costello.

Co-captain, Sarah heard about 24 Foundation while volunteering for Iron Girl, an event held the weekend before 24 Foundation Columbia in 2010. She immediately signed up to volunteer at packet pick up that year and has been participating in the event as a rider ever since.

Both captainsIMG_3851 are active members of Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that inspires young girls through lessons and running games. When Katie heard that Sarah already had a team named Girls on the Run at 24 Foundation, she thought it would be a great idea to conjoin the teams so they would have a larger community of riders.

“Joining Sarah and her Girls on the Run team seemed like the perfect union,” said Katie Wirth.  “It would allow me and my friends and family to ride in the Booty event and support one charity while being on a team and representing another charity that’s near and dear to me. I asked Sarah last year if we could join forces in 2015 and she agreed!”

Like Katie, Sarah had no cycling experience at first, but for the past four years she has been competitively cycling in triathlons. Sarah rides for numerous people she knows who have experienced cancer, including her dad. Katie’s inspiration is sparked by the energy and commitment that is universally present at the event.

“This event is the ideal experience for me, giving so much to others who need it and also allowing people of all ages and abilities to participate and contribute,” Katie said. “It’s not a race or a competition. It’s an alliance of strength, determination and commitment.”

Sarah adds “No matter who you are or how old you are you can participate, it’s all inclusive.”

Both captains believe the event creates an encouraging sense of community where participants of all ages can ride the loop over and over because they love it and know it so well.

“I always have a great time riding laps with my teammates and friends, and it’s also wonderful when I meet new people and have a chance to make more connections in the community,” Katie said.

Sarah agrees by adding, “A lot of events you have to meet at a certain time to train or be a certain age to participate. The unique thing about 24 Foundation is that you can do one lap or ride all day. You can be a kid playing in Bootyville or you can build awareness and support for others.”

Fundraising goals are an important component for the Girls on The Run co-captains. They each send out a few emails and promote their ride on Facebook, but they mostly leave donations up to their friends, family and they even some donate themselves. Their mileage goals are also similar, both setting the bar high at 100 miles this year.

Above all things 24 Foundation inspires these women to give back.

“24 Foundation has shown me that I have more of myself to give than I ever thought, and realizing how much I can give of myself has inspired me to get involved in several other charity and volunteer organizations in my area, including Girls on the Run and Athletes Serving Athletes,” Katie said.

To participate in 24 Foundation you don’t have to be an avid cyclist. The overall experience you get from the event is the motivating factor in their decision to take part in the event.

“24 Foundation motivates me to get involved even though I’m just getting over an injury. I haven’t signed up for any events this year but I know I can sign up for 24 Foundation because it’s one of my favorite weekends of the year,” said Sarah. “I’m looking forward to it.”

They are both looking forward to the event this year on August 22-23, 2 p.m. – 2 p.m. and we invite you to join them by registering to ride here!