A Michigan endurance athlete will swim 65 miles across a Canadian lake this month in honor of his aunt, an Austin woman who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Adam Ellenstein, 39, plans to swim the length of Okanagan Lake in Penticton, Canada, starting on July 25. He expects the swim to take about 40 hours, and in the process he hopes to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest north-to-south non-stop swim of the lake.
The swim honors his aunt Susan Scarlett, 65, who will travel to Canada to swim alongside her nephew for portions of the swim. The pair hope that the event encourages other people living with Parkinson’s to incorporate more exercise into their lives.
Ellenstein, who has successfully completed Ironman and UltraMan triathlons, says some of his earliest memories are of swimming with his aunt at his grandmother’s swimming pool in Indiana. He got interested in endurance swimming five years ago, when he started competing in triathlons. Last year, he joined a friend in an 18-mile swim across Lake Winnipeg in Canada.
“That swim gave me the confidence to step up to the 65-mile swim,” he said by phone this week from his home in Michigan.
Water temperatures in Okanagan Lake hovered in the mid-60s this week. Ellenstein plans to wear a wetsuit, and a crew of 16 people on safety kayaks and motorized boats will support him as he makes his swim, dubbed VictorySwim105.
Scarlett, who says she wasn’t much of an exerciser until recently, will wear fins so she can keep up with him. Since her Parkinson’s diagnosis, she has started going to the gym three days a week, doing Pilates twice a week and swimming as often as she can.
Swimming, she says, gives her “that beautiful feeling inside of rhythm and sweetness.”
“I’m thrilled, proud and really enthusiastic,” Scarlett said of Ellenstien‘s upcoming swim. “It puts such smile on my face, just the idea that I can help him succeed is so beautiful.”
Scarlett won’t be the only swimmer joining Ellenstein. A rotating cast of athletes will jump in the water to keep him motivated. Among them is Austin triathlete Meredith Terranova, who will help pace him during the swim. (Legend has it there’s a monster in the lake, too.)
Here in Austin, Scarlett’s 92-year-old mother, Jeanne Ellenstein, will swim laps at the pool at her home at Querencia at Barton Creek, a retirement community. Even Scarlett‘s dog will swim in the pool at the kennel where it’s being boarded.
Others around the world – including people in seven foreign countries – will do their own swims to show support and raise money.
Ellenstien’s swim is a fund-raiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation, whose mission is to help people with Parkinson’s disease live well today. Parkinson’s is aprogressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. There is no known cure. To make a donation, go here.
Two bicycle officers and a police squad car from the Austin Police Department will lead the first lap of the pro race at tonight’s Driveway Series as a show of support for the police officers killed in Dallas.
Last week’s police shootings took place just down the street from the Dallas version of the Thursday Night Bike Races, which take place weekly at Fair Park.
The Dallas Police Department is sending officers to the Fair Park races tonight to mingle with racers and lead off the races in a squad car. The organizer of that event, Ginny King, is accepting donations for Assist the Officer, which provides financial assistance to police officers and their families at times of crisis. Cyclists will get blue ribbons to attach to their seat posts.
Hundreds of Austin residents will stretch, fold and meditate in the shadow of the Texas State Capitol on July 30, during a city-wide yoga celebration.
In an effort to mainstream yoga, the United Nations last year declared June 21 the International Day of Yoga. In Texas, the celebration has been extended. The Austin event on July 30 will mark the culmination of nearly six weeks of events around the state.
Local yoga studios and mindfulness communities, along with representatives of the government of India, organized the event, which starts at 6 p.m. near the south steps of the Capitol. The lineup will include a 90-minute yoga asana sequence, a meditation for peace, a yoga dance performance, live music, chanting and meditation.
Organizers hope to connect Austin’s diverse communities, including veterans, state officials, seniors, adults, children and celebrities.
Partners include the Art of Living Yoga, Isha Foundation, Bea Love Yoga, Austin Yoga Tree, Pure Action, Agni, Yoga Yoga and Natural Awakenings and about 40 others.
Austin parks will get a boost from next year’s Statesman Capitol 10,000.
Race officials today announced that the Austin Parks Foundation will receive $1 from every registration for the 40th annual race, set for April 23, 2017.
The non-profit Austin Parks Foundation was established in 1992. It fills the funding gap needed to develop, maintain and enhance the area’s more than 300 parks, trails and green spaces. Since 2006, it has awarded more than $2 million in grants.
“Austin parks are fundamental to the exceptional quality of life we enjoy in our city, providing a variety of resources and recreation for tens of thousands of Austinites every day,” Colin Wallis, executive director of Austin Parks Foundation, said in a press release. “Financial support, like that from the Statesman Cap10K, will ensure our growing city has safe, beautiful and high-quality green spaces today and for generations to come.”
Cap10K registration is open at cap10K.com. When registering, race participants can also make an additional donation to the Austin Parks Foundation; the Statesman will match donations up to $10,000.
The Cap10K is the largest 10K race in Texas and one of the top 10 in the nation. It began in 1978 with 3,400 participants. In 2016, the race had more than 20,500 registered participants.
ike a beer with your yoga? And how about some live music?
This month’s free Pints & Poses event at the Hyatt Regency Austin will feature a vinyasa flow class led by Ferny Barcelo set to meditative music by local yoga DJ David Trap. Afterward, participants get a complimentary pint of draft beer at the hotel’s Marker 10 bar. Parking in the hotel’s garage is free, too.
“As the series continues to expand, live music will bring a new and exciting element to this great event,” the hotel’s general manager, Michael Murphy, said in a press release.
The event, which is open to local residents and hotel guests, will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the hotel’s Texas Ballroom on the second floor near the escalators. Brin
g your own mat.
The series continues every second Monday of each month. Classes are scheduled for Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12. For more information go here.