A life-threatening accident derailed Rachel Corey’s first trip to the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii last fall.
The accident will also keep her on the sideline for the Ironman 70.3 Boise on Saturday. But it won’t keep her memory out of the race as friends in the Treasure Valley triathlon community have assembled two relay teams to raise money for Corey’s medical bills.
Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy and TriTown, a triathlon store in Hyde Park, joined together to raffle four spots on two Rachel’s Relay teams, which will be anchored by a pair of professional triathletes and Corey’s friends — Kate Bevilaqua and Guy Crawford.
Raffle tickets cost $10 and the goal was to raise $3,000 before the race. The raffle raised nearly $5,000, said Antonio Gonzalez, co-owner of TriTown.
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“It all came about because a lot of us are Rachel’s friends,” Gonzalez said. “We knew this is a race Rachel absolutely loved and had done many, many years. Obviously, though, Rachel is not going to be able to race it this year. But we still wanted to honor her memory and the fact she would be out here if she weren’t still recovering from her injuries.”
While training for the world championships Sept. 16, a vehicle slammed into Corey on her bicycle on Pleasant Valley Road south of Boise, part of this year’s course. Corey suffered a broken back, broken left clavicle, broken left elbow, several broken ribs, a broken sternum, a broken nose and three brain contusions.
The driver, Marc Law of Middleton, is charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and is awaiting trial.
Corey, 33, a Weiser native and a Boise State nursing graduate, still uses a wheelchair but has also graduated to a walker and walking canes for portions of the day. Matt Booth, the clinic director of Therapeutic Association’s southeast Boise location, said her goal is to return to triathlon racing.
“A lot of us knew if it happened to anyone, this is the type of person that it doesn’t matter what the doctors tell her her chances are on recovery,” Booth said. “She’ll find a way to recover.”
Booth said the raffle idea came from a brainstorming session with Crawford. Booth said they knew they wanted to do a fundraiser for Corey. But he also wanted to make it fun and participatory.
Raffle winners will complete two of the three legs of the half Ironman triathlon — either the 1.2-mile swim, the 56-mile bike ride or the 13.1-mile run. Bevilaqua, who finished fourth in Boise last year, will run for her all-female team and Crawford, who finished 10th, will cycle for his all-male team.
Booth said raffle ticket buyers ranged from people who just wanted to donate to people considering their first triathlon.
“I said, ‘You don’t have to be fast. Let the pros be fast and you guys can do whatever you want,’ ” Booth joked.
The two relay teams will sport special jersey’s bearing the Therapeutic Associates name made for the Rachel’s Relay teams. Because the Ironman 70.3 Boise race isn’t offering professional prize money for the first time in its eight-year history, pros like Bevilaqua and Crawford don’t have to wear their sponsors’ uniforms.
Crawford said he jumped at the idea to get involved to help his friend and to keep an accident like her’s from happening again.
“There is such an active outdoor community here in Boise,” he said. “If we help increase road awareness and avoid accidents like this happening again, then the relay has helped in more ways than one.”