In The D10's ten-year history, there had never been an event where three different teams achieved that fundraising points maximum...
Until last weekend.
The powerhouse fundraising performances from Trafigura Trading (Team Traf), Nutrabolt (Team Metron), and the SWEAT 1000 women's team propelled The D10 Houston 2018 to a record $462,000+ for MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, and set up a tight, back-and-forth athletic battle whose outcome remained in doubt until the final race of the day.
Sportswriters reserve the word "phenom" for athletes who somehow seem to skip the learning curve, athletes who arrive on the scene fully equipped to dominate. Wilt Chamberlain was MVP of the National Basketball Association in his rookie season. Tracy Austin won tennis's U.S. Open at age 16, in her first year as a pro.
Abby Liu, Meg Murphy, Megan Cushing and Nathalie Guzman had that kind of impact on The D10 Houston this year. From the moment they registered this summer, the women of SWEAT 1000 established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. They led and attended D10 workouts. They set the pace in fundraising, involved themselves in our community, spread the message and the mission on social media....they came to compete.
They competed for their gym, for their families, for one another and for themselves. They competed for the real, full purpose, which requires fury and determination even as it encourages philanthropy and fun. When the sun passed its zenith at Rice University last weekend, the Nutrabolt/Metron team had held the lead for most of the day. To slingshot past them, SWEAT 1000 knew they would have to close strong.
SWEAT gained ground when Meg and Nathalie pulled stellar times back to back on the 500M Row, but Nutrabolt CEO Doss Cunningham stretched Metron's overall lead by vaulting for 39 inches in the Vertical Jump. The stakes at this juncture were doubly high, as Meg's Row and Doss's Vertical carried, by a large margin, the day's two highest performance-based pledge values. Both athletes blew away their performance goals, adding $8500 to MD Anderson's total in less than two astonishing minutes.
What nobody yet knew--perhaps not even the women themselves--was that SWEAT's three best events of the day would be the three still to come. Megan and Abby scored double 1000s in the Shuttle. Abby went back to work with 45 reps on the Bench Press, good for another 1000-point maximum, and was seconded by Nathalie's strong showing of 28.
They now held a tenuous lead. To keep it safe, Megan and Nathalie would have to finish near their respective 800 Meter goals of 2:50 and 2:30...but with Nathalie a late, reluctant scratch, it was team captain Abby Liu who stepped up, held Megan's pace around the track, and crossed the line five seconds swifter than her goal time to seal the victory.
SWEAT 1000's combined fundraising and athletic score of 20,675 stands as the highest team total in the history of The D10's national tour.
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARD
A perennial top finisher at The D10 in New York, Kris Martin was the very first athlete to complete a registration for The D10 NYC 2019. Kris scoffs at the suggestion of an offseason. The Senior Associate at IHS Markit flew to Houston and took home the Men's Individual trophy with a strong all-around performance, highlighted by the day's best time (4.00) in his signature event, the 20 Yard Shuttle.
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARD
Kyla Cook, a specialist at Texas Children's Hospital, bagged 1100 of her 7240 points when she blasted 1:35.1 on her 500 Meter Row and claimed the 100 point bonus for breaking a D10 record. Replete with agility as well as power, Kyla recorded the day's best performances in the Broad Jump and Vertical Jump en route to winning the Women's Individual trophy.
Full D10 Houston 2018 competitor leaderboards are here.
Jesse Krynak, director at First Reserve, shaved two seconds off his Row and added 200 points to his 2017 overall total to repeat as The D10 Houston's Top Executive.
The D10's fundraising table stops at $50,000, but the SWEAT 1000 Women's team didn't. They raised more than $63,000 (another D10 tour record), spearheaded by Meg Murphy's jaw-dropping $46,535. Here's the EnCap Investments' Vice President moments after she turned $7550 in sliding pledges into $12,300 in realized donations with her gritty 1:44.6 Row.
Wendy Craven of D10 Houston sponsor Cheniere Energy stepped on stage to help recognize D10 Houston athletes who joined the 2018 10K Club, by raising more than $10,000 for MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. Special recognition goes to Nutrabolt CEO Doss Cunningham and Eric Francis of Trafigura Trading, who each raised more than $20,000.
The complete D10 Houston 2018 fundraising leaderboard is here.
BEST FAN SIGN
The full D10 Houston 2018 photo set is here.
Tiffany Sanders Roland
Tiffany Sanders Roland of event sponsor JPMorgan shared her courageous personal story this summer on The D10 website. Those few months ago, Tiffany was still recovering from a serious health scare, and wasn't sure which of the ten D10 events her body would be ready to attempt. She ended the piece by musing, "Who knows? I may get out there on the field in November and compete in everything."
How about this, sports fans? That's exactly what she did.
Team Don't Stop Believin'
Thanks to impeccable team chemistry and a slick profile video, Team Don't Stop Believin' secured a top-four fundraising haul and finished top-eight overall. Having doubled down on training in advance of her second D10, team member Sarah Ofner improved upon her first-year benchmarks in strength and agility events, which came as no surprise to readers of her blog profile.
Team Traf talisman and newly minted 10K Clubber Russ Roberts shared some training tips on his Instagram Takeover last month. He's already vowed to bring Team Traf back next year with an eye on the team trophy.
What's impressive is that Megan Light of Cheniere thumped her goals in six D10 events. What's even more impressive is that she quadrupled her 2017 fundraising amount.
Anticipation was sky high in advance of D10 Head Judge Craig Capurso's return to The D10 playing field as an athlete. Ever the strict judge, Craig gave himself a B, but he came in near or ahead of his goals in all ten events and finished within 75 points of the day's top overall men's score.
Cash confessed he'd have to shed some recently acquired "Dad fat" to get his 400 Meter time back under a minute. He did it, helping Team 3 Dads + Dude raise $12,000 for MD Anderson.
Team Bros Tested, Mother Approved
Bros Tested, Mother Approved finished a strong third in the team competition, driven by Ryan and Rachel Walsh's all-star athleticism, and 12-million-dollar-man Steven Smith's fundraising clout.
The Chairmen (and the Chairwoman)
Bank of Texas Vice President Jessica Morrison came within spitting distance of two D10 records in her rookie campaign. Her 1:37.1 Row and 39-yard Football Throw were worth 1951 out of 2000 possible points, powering The Chairmen to a fourth place overall finish.
Defending D10 Houston Men's champ Randy Giveans of Jefferies was in pole position to repeat until severe lower body cramps forced him to scratch in the 800 Meters--one of his best events. Though it wouldn't count toward his points total, Randy slipped into the day's final 800 heat 15 minutes later and proved his mettle by gutting out a 2:32 on unsteady pins. Randy, gracious in defeat as well as victory, had kind words for winner Kris Martin (a former Jefferies colleague), and we'll be watching their rematch at The D10 NYC 2019 with great interest.
Registrations for The D10 NYC 2019 and The D10 Houston 2019 are currently open.
Register here for NYC.
Register here for Houston.
Onward and upward.