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NFE Athlete Spotlight: Bryan Putman, IRONMAN Kona

By December 14, 2015February 27th, 2024Awareness, NF Endurance, Ways to Give

Bryan Putnam participated in IRONMAN Kona on behalf of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and over the past year raised over $68,000. He finished in a time of 12:05!

What was your favorite part of race week?
Race week for me was about reflection on the past 18 months and trying to soak in a once in a life time opportunity. Eighteen months of fundraising and preparation for something that took me 12 hours to complete. Although the memories will last a lifetime, the glow will fade, and soon it will be a distant memory. Having raised money that will go toward funding a cure will hopefully play a significant role in funding a cure for NF and have lasting effect. What we do in life, echos in eternity. Finishing the Ironman World Championships will always be a great memory but hopefully the money raised will indeed echo in eternity by funding scientific breakthroughs and encouraging those searching for a cure as well as those dealing with NF.

How does it feel to achieve such a large fundraising goal for CTF?
If I had a crystal ball and knew what my total raised would be before I started I would have been in shock. I still don’t know exactly how I raised it all but my philosophy was similar to how I approached the Ironman. Slow and steady… be consistent. I did have a few large donations and those were ‘mountain top’ kinda experiences, but without the 100 or so people that helped in 100 dollar increments, the amount raised would have been impossible. In regards to my niece with NF, I wrote to them before the race and said that I hoped it gave them some encouragement that there are people working for a cure.

How would you describe the past year, training for an event like Kona?
Training for ANY IRONMAN is a family commitment. It involves sacrifice on everyone’s part. With a full time job, and family and trying to squeeze in training, you have to give up certain activities. I feel that I was showing my girls (ages 6, 10 and 12) how amazing things can be achieved through hard work and commitment. I will never fully know or understand the effect of racing on my family but I do believe it to be positive so long as it’s not an every year sort of thing!

Do you have any advice for other NF Endurance athletes?
Watch past NBC coverage for the race for motivation. Start your fundraising now! Leverage any talent you have to raise money for your goal. Set a high goal, if you miss, hopefully you’ll still wildly overshoot the minimum. Don’t tell people the minimum; I felt it was exponentially harder to get donations once you are thousands past what you “have” to raise. I think acknowledging in somewhat of a public way those who gave, and thereby indirectly putting pressure on those who have not is HUGE. Most people love the recognition of giving so be a big proponent of that (you don’t need to say how much they gave).

Anything funny happen to you during the race?
Funny. I saw a shark on the swim. Granted I believe it was a reef shark about 2 feet long but since the water was so clear you saw a ton of fish, etc and that was pretty cool. But seeing the prototypical swim style of a small shark on the bottom gave one pause for a moment.

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