Miss A Columnist

Van Ma grew up in San Francisco. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Human Biology and a minor in French Literature. Having left her heart in San Francisco, she returned to work across the Bay Area as a behavioral therapist, teaching verbal and nonverbal children with ASD. She maintains an active lifestyle by practicing yoga and running daily. In her spare time, she loves to read at local cafes, work on art projects, watch sports, and rock out to country music. Wherever she is, Van loves to try new restaurants and check out events around the city. She lives by the motto: “I work to live and I live to travel,” so she always looks forward to local and foreign adventures.

Team Up! Participates In Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon To Benefit Autism Speaks

Autism, a developmental disorder, affects one in 88 children. In 2005, Bob and Suzanne Wright founded Autism Speaks to advocate for individuals with autism and their families. The organization has grown to become the world’s leading autism science and advocacy group, funding research and increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders.

For the first leg of the race, triathletes must swim from Alcatraz to the Marina. (Photo Credit: David Paul Morris)

For the first leg of the race, triathletes must swim from Alcatraz to the Marina. (Photo Credit: David Paul Morris)

Since 2007, athletes from Team Up!, the endurance fundraising program of Autism Speaks, have raised more than $4 million. By participating in a variety of events from marathons to triathlons across the United States, advocates have been able to spread awareness about the campaign. This year, Team Up! returns to the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon for a third year and will have raised more than $20,000 to help create a better future for those struggling with autism. A team of five strong athletes will race amongst 2000 participants – including 16 other charities – to benefit Autism Speaks in this sold out event.

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon features the natural beauty of San Francisco and the Bay. Routed along the north end of San Francisco, this exhilarating race attracts triathletes from around the globe including World Champions and Olympic Medalists to do the impossible -“escape” from Alcatraz.

As swimmers struggle to make a quick transition to land, Team Up! is headed for the bike ride portion of the race. (Photo Credit: Rex Photography)

As swimmers struggle to make a quick transition to land, Team Up! is headed for the bike ride portion of the race. (Photo Credit: Rex Photography)

The event begins with a plunge into the 55 degree water adjacent to Alcatraz Island for a 1.5-mile icy swim against strong currents to Marina Green Beach. After a quick transition, participants must conquer an 18-mile bike ride through the hilly Presidio and Golden Gate Park. For the last eight miles, triathletes will need to run through Baker Beach, up 400 steps and conquer the home stretch back to the Marina Green where 20,000 cheering fans will be waiting at the finish line.

While I advocate for Autism Speaks, I probably would pass out after the swim so I will show my support at the finish line instead. Join me at the Marina Green to cheer on Team Up! as they make their way across the finish line and stick around for the Fitness Festival. The festival is free and will include 40 vendor booths, a food court, and a showcase of the latest products and services from the health and fitness industry.

Click here to join Team Up! Autism Speaks or to donate to the cause.

WHEN: Sunday, March 3, 2013 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
WHERE:

Marina Green
200 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94123

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