IR4C ” I RACE FOR CAUSE”

IR4C ” I RACE FOR CAUSE”

Giving Power to Non-Professional Athletes

BY JON SALM

Lakeland based IR4C, or “I Race for Cause,” traces its roots to an informal hangout back in 2010. Kevin Transue was chatting with a few friends about the unfortunate trend of professional athletes who had gotten into trouble – the Tiger Woods scandal was in full force and Plaxico Burress had recently shot himself in the foot with an illegal gun.

“We thought; this is crazy,” Transue said. “There are millions of dollars spent on celebrity athlete endorsements each year and they make a shame of their brands. We thought there was something else we could do.”

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In their free time, Transue, Shawn McCabe, Scott Parker, and Jason Shepard began working on a social platform that would make the ordinary athlete, not the celebrity athlete, the one with the power.

IR4C is a unique fundraising platform that allows endurance athletes such as marathon runners, long distance swimmers, and triathletes to raise money and support the causes about which they are most passionate. The site’s social profiles allow athletes to tell their stories, track events they’ve entered, and donate to their charities of choice. The IR4C website (IR4C.com) launched in June 2012 and quickly established a foothold with endurance athletes all across the country.

Shepard, who serves as President of the IR4C Foundation, estimated that IR4C is “very close” to having athletes from all 50 states. “We have athletes registered from Miami, Florida to Eugene, Oregon. We’ve been going to major expositions throughout the United States to spread the word, as well.”

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The organization has eschewed traditional advertising in lieu of viral word-of-mouth marketing. As athletes learned about the site, they quickly spread the word to others in the endurance community, said Transue. IR4C has nearly 1,000 registered athletes and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months.

“We’re adding some really amazing features to our website,” Transue said. “You’ll be able to register for almost every event throughout the United States, associate photos and videos with a particular event, and share them with your friends on Facebook. It’s almost like a race scrapbook.”

While IR4C targets endurance athletes and events all across the country, the organization has managed to stay heavily involved in Polk County causes, as well. IR4C will handle race registration and individual and team fundraising efforts for The InnerAct Alliance’s Red Ribbon Half Marathon in November 2013 – Polk County’s first half marathon.

If a local business has a group of employees that want to form a team to run in an event like the Red Ribbon Half Marathon, the IR4C.com platform “will organize them and put it all together,” said Shepard.

Although IR4C is small and relatively new; Transue, Shepard and the team have high hopes for its future.

“IR4C is unlike anything that currently exists,” said Transue. “We have heard so many great stories. This demographic is caring, hardworking and passionate about benefitting their cause.”
racingcure3This feeling is certainly reflected in IR4C’s slogan which guides both the organization and its dedicated athletes – “We know why you race.”

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