By Karl Hayes
The recently announced Food Spectrum Ironman Charity Challenge is an initiative that will bring some organisation to all of the fund raising done by the thousands of ironman participants every year.
Trizone wanted to find out a bit more about the driving forces behind this new charity challenge. Food Spectrum CEO, Mark Betts has been raising money for charities for some time now.
How did the association with the new Ironman Charity Challenge come about? Mark Betts (Food Spectrum CEO) has personally finished in 5 Ironman events. His last Australian event was Western Australia where he was invited to race in Team Maclean and fundraise for The John Maclean Foundation. “Myself and Food Spectrum were keen to extend our involvement with Ironman, their fundraising support for The John Maclean Foundation and the children the Foundation helps. When I heard that Ironman was planning to introduce the Charity Challenge in Australia I was the first to raise my hand and express my wish for Food Spectrum to be the inaugural sponsor”.
Food Spectrum’s motivation to get behind this charity challenge comes from the long history they have of providing support to a wide range of charitable and worthy causes. Chairman and company founder, Peter Lancaster has always attached great importance to fulfilling Food Spectrum’s social responsibility and is committed to giving back to the community.
With Mark’s added enthusiasm for Ironman and his own passion for helping children who live with disabilities, particularly through the John Maclean Foundation, participation and support for the Ironman Charity Challenge was a completely obvious and natural association for the company. “The Ironman Charity Challenge gave provides another means by which Food Spectrum can play its part in a wider capacity, beyond its own direct fundraising initiatives, by facilitating the worthy endeavours of many more Ironman athletes and their individual charitable efforts”.
Mark has been involved with the foundation since around September last year, 2009 “however the individual personalities and the company have been involved in other charitable work over many years.
Mark was told about John Maclean by Jack Daly, a good friend and motivational business leader from the U.S. By chance Mark was out training one evening during a business trip to Melbourne and as he came in from training he saw John at a hotel. “I took the opportunity to introduce myself and a firm friendship quickly formed leading to me being invited to compete at Ironman W.A. a few months later with Team Maclean. The challenge of a new fundraising initiative and the inspiration provided by John’s personal achievements coupled with the great work of the John Maclean Foundation (JMF) drove me even harder than usual, leading to my being awarded top fundraiser at the event with over $26,000 generated for the Foundation”. Mark’s strong commitment saw him appointed as the John Maclean Foundation’s Ambassador to Queensland in September this year, a recognition and an honour that Mark deeply appreciates and one in which he will be sure to enthusiastically represent in the Sunshine State. There’s no doubting that Mark already promotes the interests of JMF with passion – and pushes the envelope “at every opportunity!
Neither Food Spectrum nor Mark was directly involved in choosing the selected charities for this inaugural year of Ironman Charity Challenge. However the fact that the John Maclean Foundation is one of the four initial charities certainly played a part in Food Spectrum’s early and keen interest in participating as naming rights sponsor. It is also a testimony to Food Spectrum’s and Mark’s commitment to continuously and robustly champion the causes of JMF whenever and wherever possible.
The John Maclean Foundation, the charity of prime interest to Spectrum Foods is a natural choice to be included in the Ironman Charity Challenge because of the inspirational, athletic and sporting endeavours of John himself, most particularly his personal involvement and success in Ironman events over a lengthy period of time. Plus the key focus of the JM Foundation on helping children with disabilities that use wheelchairs to improve their mobility and quality of life.