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Why we ride: Alaska Airlines Courage Classic Bicycle Tour

Posted on Jul. 31, 2012 ( comments)

This weekend, Aug. 4-6, is the 21st Annual Alaska Airlines Courage Classic Bicycle Tour. Each year this fully supported, three-day, 173-mile event takes hundreds of cycling participants over three of Western Washington’s most well known mountain passes, Snolqualmie, Blewett and Stephens. It’s a challenging and fun event that raises money for a great cause, to support the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect — which provides significant support for Mary Bridge’s Child Abuse Intervention Department (CAID).

This year 598 riders will set out to “Pedal for the Kids” as individuals or on teams, and MultiCare is well represented, with 83 employees riding for Team MultiCare.

We asked employees to tell us why they ride the Courage Classic, and these are some of the things they said:


"As the manager of the Child Abuse Intervention Department (CAID), I can tell you that the money raised every year really matters. Most folks probably don’t have a real sense of where the dollars flow. But working in the clinic day in and day out I see the real meaning of the support. I see the endless energy and compassion that is poured into really difficult work by our staff. They do amazing work and encounter heartbreaking stories every day. And yet as difficult as some days are, they return each day to do their jobs."
Jody Hawthorne, MSW, LICSW, Manager, Child Abuse Intervention Department,
MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center
Number of Courage Classics: 15


"I rode the Courage Classic last year for the first time and instantly fell in love with the event. The ride is challenging yet fun, the scenery is beautiful, the people are all wonderful and the food is beyond compare. But everyone would agree that the best part is knowing that we’re doing something to help the kids."
Robert Love, Groundskeeper, MultiCare Health System
Number of Courage Classics: 2


"I ride Courage Classic because no child should have to endure the effects of abuse alone. It’s horrific and life-changing but it doesn’t have to identify who they are. The least I can do is pedal over a few “hills” for these children. I look forward to this ride (and the food) every year and it will become a tradition until I am too decrepit to move."
Cindy Niemi, Major Gifts Officer, MultiCare Health Foundation
Number of Courage Classics: 7


"Fundraising for CAID (the Rotary endowment supplies about one-third of the annual revenue needed for the CAID’s operations) is part of what drives me to ride every year, but I also do it because it is so much fun! The riders, volunteers and supporters of the event are so amazing and the spirit of the event is one that leaves a lasting impression. The training is time consuming, but it is a health activity that also promotes team spirit for Mary Bridge and MultiCare."
Mary Quinlan, Director, Community Services,
MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center
Number of Courage Classics: 5


"My involvement with the ride is driven by several things. First and foremost is the cause — the kids! We riders, countless volunteers, and organizers have made this the best ride for the best cause. The kids we ride for may never know what the Courage Classic is, or what we do for those three days in August, but the money we raise helps them just the same."
John Racette, OPA-C, MultiCare Orthopedics and Sports Medicine;
Courage Classic Team Captain, Team MultiCare
Number of Courage Classics: 5


"I really like the idea of raising money to support worthy causes through healthy activities. The Courage Classic fits that description perfectly. I dedicate these rides to the memories of my parents, John and Rose Russell. Remembering them gives me more “courage” to commit to the fund raising part of the ride."
Philip Russell, Director, Project Management Office, MultiCare Health System
Number of Courage Classics: 2


"I have been training continuously for the Courage Classic for the last year, until I had an unfortunate skirmish with the asphalt resulting in a collarbone fracture. A titanium plate was installed to reconnect the bone. The Courage Classic will take place at almost 6 weeks after surgery and I am intent on achieving my goal of completing this ride with my fellow Cardiac Cyclist teammates, and raise funds for child abuse prevention.

I am also biking in memory of my dear friend AO whose life was a constant adventure. He made a mark on everyone who knew him inspiring us to give 110 percent and ask nothing in return."
Tariq Salam, MD, Cardiologist, Cardiac Study Center, Member “Cardiac Cyclists” bicycling team
Number of Courage Classics: 1


"I ride the Courage Classic for three reasons: the Kids, the companionship, and the test of fitness. This event has been a perfect way for me to give back to the community – and specifically to support bringing attention and resources to care for our most vulnerable community members, children of abuse, cared for by the Child Abuse Intervention Department (CAID) at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital."
Jim Sapienza, Administrator, Imaging Services, MultiCare Health System
Number of Courage Classics: 5


"I ride because there is no stronger mantra then 'For the Kids.' I ride because in asking for support, which is not always an easy thing to do; that hesitancy is boldly challenged because it is 'For the Kids.' I ride because even though, when riding up the endless mount of Stevens Pass when I am arguing with my GPS that I am, in fact, not stopped but proceeding steadily at 1 mph, forward motion happens because it is 'For the Kids.'”
Mary Walsh, RN, BSN, Manager-Pediatric Ambulatory Programs ,
MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center
Number of Courage Classics: 2


Why do YOU ride the Courage Classic? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on the Courage Classic Facebook page ( 

Posted in: Special Events

About The Author

maura hallam Maura Hallam
Maura is our manager of content services. She writes extensively about health and wellness topics, from fitness and nutrition to medical insurance. You can reach her at [email protected].
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