The Livestrong Foundation is cutting back its Livestrong Challenge Series to three cities in 2011 — Philadelphia, Austin and one yet to be named in California.
That leaves the Pacific Northwest out of the mix for the first time in six years. Portland hosted an event from 2005 to 2008, and Seattle had the event in 2009 and 2010.
During that time, the six charity bike rides engaged some 11,000 participants to raise funds for the cancer research and survivorship program of the foundation created by Lance Armstrong.
About 1,600 cyclists and runners, as well as 475 volunteers, participated in the 2010 Livestrong-Seattle event and raised $800,000.
When contacted, Annemarie Rickes, Livestrong Challenge Series manager, told me that the decision to omit Seattle was made after a careful and thorough analysis.
“… Our event has not seen growth in key areas that are critical to the overall support of our mission activities. In addition to stagnant fundraising, we are faced with increasing local costs related to permitting, rental fees, and site selection as well as a very difficult economic landscape. ….
“During tough economic times, non-profits like Livestrong have to be more careful than ever about giving constituents the highest and best return on the funds with which they entrust us. That's a responsibility we take very seriously.”
Livestrong will continue to support the Livestrong Survivorship Center of Excellence at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Livestrong SurvivorCare at the YMCA.
Although Seattle won't host a Livestrong Challenge event in 2011, it's likely that several charity bike rides to raise funds for the foundation will be held somewhere in the Pacific Northwest next year. Check this search tool for Livestrong grassroots events next year.
Livestrong Challenge dates
Austin has been the home for Texas-born Armstrong's Ride for the Roses weekend since it started in 1997. It will host the grand finale of the Livestrong Challenge on Oct. 14-16, 2011.
The first Livestrong Challenge will be held in June 2011 in California (a date and location are expected to be announced in early December).
Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia is scheduled on Aug. 20-21, 2011.
Also, check the list of other charity bike rides for 2011.