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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 4:01 am | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Montecito Bank & Trust Steps Up Its Support of Santa Barbara Triathlon

The bank commits to three more years as the event's presenting sponsor

On Aug. 28-29, more than 2,000 competitors — from young first-timers to seasoned pros young at heart — and as many spectators, will descend on Santa Barbara’s East Beach for the 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon. This year marks the 29th swimming, biking and running of the Santa Barbara Triathlon, and the second year Montecito Bank & Trust has been its presenting sponsor.

“Montecito Bank & Trust stepped in to rescue our 2009 event as we were getting close to the 11th hour without a major sponsor,” race director Joe Coito said. “I approached Montecito Bank & Trust and was so relieved to receive their sponsorship and appreciated their complete involvement.”

This year, the bank announced that it has committed to three more years as the event’s presenting sponsor.

“The alliance between the Santa Barbara Triathlon and Montecito Bank & Trust is a perfect fit,” Coito said. “Montecito Bank & Trust is a local company that has always been passionately committed to our community, and the Santa Barbara Triathlon exemplifies the spirit of that same commitment to community.

“When Montecito Bank & Trust committed to a three-year partnership with the Santa Barbara Triathlon as the event’s presenting sponsor, I knew that I was working with a company with integrity and vision. That sort of commitment is rare these days, and it exemplifies their desire to invest in the positive community events that make Santa Barbara a wonderful place to live.”

When bank President and CEO Janet Garufis was asked why during a time when many companies are pulling back on sponsorship dollars that the bank would commit to three additional years, she said, “One of the founding principles of our bank is to support the vitality of the communities we serve, not only through banking and lending, but also through giving back. We see this presenting sponsorship as an opportunity to support the wellness of our community in so many ways and are delighted to be able to team up with the Santa Barbara Triathlon under Joe Coito’s able leadership. The triathlon’s nonprofit focus is well aligned with Montecito Bank & Trust’s ongoing commitment to support the communities we serve.”

Philanthropy has been an integral part of the Santa Barbara Triathlon since its inception. Accordingly, one of the biggest benefits of the presenting sponsorship is that every year the presenting sponsor selects the event’s official charity. The selected charity receives the donations raised by the fundraising efforts of Santa Barbara Triathlon’s sponsors, athletes, staff and volunteers. This year, Montecito Bank & Trust has decided that the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation will be on the receiving end of those donations.

The foundation supports the families of children with cancer, so they can maintain their financial and emotional health during the treatment and recovery process.

“Cancer does not just affect the child in treatment; it affects the entire family,” said Nikki Katz, the foundation’s founder and program director.

Since its humble beginnings, “Teddy Bear has gone through tremendous growth,” Executive Director Marni Rozet said. However, even as the foundation continues to increase the number of individuals and families it assists, more are in need. “Almost weekly we are notified of additional children being diagnosed.”

In 2009, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation served 104 families (445 individuals) in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. So far in 2010, the foundation has helped more than 78 families with either direct financial assistance or other supportive services and has provided support, outreach and activities to more than 202 families a month. Dollar for dollar, the TBCF provides 10 times more financial assistance than any other national organization that supports children with cancer.

“Having the reach and muscle of Montecito Bank & Trust behind the Santa Barbara Triathlon will enable us to reach our greatest goal, which is to raise $50,000 for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation,” Coito said.

While the nearly $400,000 in charitable donations that the triathlon has made to several of the area’s nonprofits over the years endears it to many, the race’s magnificent scenery and formidable terrain are no doubt what stand out in the minds of others.
       
The Santa Barbara Triathlon consists of three events — the long course, on Saturday, Aug. 28, and two sprint distance races, both on Sunday, Aug. 29.

The long course is one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the country. It consists of a one-mile swim, 34-mile bike and 10-mile run. Its unique distance gives athletes an opportunity to step it up and test their speed on a longer course. The generally calm ocean swim leads way to a deceptively challenging bike course finishing with a solid run.

For those looking for a less demanding but equally rewarding version of the renowned long course, two sprint distance events will start on Sunday. The sprint distance triathlon involves a 500-yard swim, six-mile bike and two-mile run. The Co-Ed Sprint Course is first to start, with the Women’s-Only Sprint Course starting shortly thereafter. The brisk ocean swim, relatively flat bike and nearly flat run make both the Co-Ed and Women’s-Only courses a perfect introduction to the world of triathlon.

Like last year, Montecito Bank & Trust will supply event bags and water bottles to the athletes, an inflatable “Montecito Bank & Trust Bucks” booth with prizes for the kids, and associate volunteers to provide support at aid stations and other places along the course. New this year, however, is the bank’s effort to encourage its own associates to complete one of the weekend’s events. In addition to their financial, material and human contributions, Montecito Bank & Trust has offered to cover the event fee of any associate who raises $150 or more in donations for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

“For the bank, this is a win-win,” Garufis said. “By doing this we simultaneously promote corporate welfare, encourage associates to invest in their own well-being, and support a wonderful cause near and dear to so many in this community.”

The start and finish line for the Santa Barbara Triathlon will be at the Cabrillo Bathhouse at East Beach, 1118 Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. The event starts at 7 a.m. sharp Saturday and Sunday. A Health & Fitness Expo (open to the public) and event check-in begin at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Click here for more information about the event and/or volunteering.

— Joe Coito is race director of the Santa Barbara Triathlon Inc.

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