Dan Nellis combined his passion for polar bears and triathlons to raise funds for Polar Bears International.

© Courtesy of Dan Nellis

8/10/2016 1:52:23 PM

Wednesday Shout Out {Ironman Dan Nellis}

Dan Nellis, 2011 Polar Bears International Climate Alliance graduate and an aquarium and manatee keeper at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, recently raised funds for PBI in an unconventional way: he swam, biked, and ran in the Ironman triathlon in Lake Placid, New York.

Nellis set a goal to raise $500 for PBI and raised more than 125% of his goal amount!

Here's what Nellis had to say about the experience:

"I can't tell you what a gift it is to me to be able to combine my passions for triathlons and conservation. I actually signed up for my first triathlon while I was on my way to Churchill, Manitoba as part of PBI's Climate Alliance. I was in a Winnipeg hotel and had just met Hunter Veeneman, my bunkmate for the trip. I got so worked up I had to go find the fitness room and spend a while on the bike and treadmill so I would not bounce off the walls.

"We were on our way to see polar bears and I was signed up for a half Ironman! That was in 2011. That week in Churchill profoundly changed my life. I looked into the eyes of a free, wild, male polar bear while having coffee and met some of the coolest people!  

"I was surrounded by the passion and inspiration that is Polar Bears International! Right away I was thinking about ways I could help. Raising funds for polar bears while running the half Ironman just made sense.

"It is now 2016 and I was heading into my third attempt at the iconic Ironman Lake Placid. I finished my first attempt in 2014. Last year 2015, was a humiliating dose of reality as 'the three bears' (three infamously nasty hills at the middle and the end of the bike course, which is 112 miles long) chewed me up so bad I never made it to the run portion of the race. I had to make amends and decided to show these bears just how I felt.

"I figured that I would raise funds for Polar Bears International in hopes that the 'three bears' would let me travel through to my destination without too much trouble. It worked! I finished with 57 minutes to spare!

"Now PBI and Ironman will be forever connected in my soul! Thank you all for your support; it's quite uplifting to know there will be a future for this awesome species. Racing again in 2017!"

Thank you, Dan, for your hard work and support for polar bears!

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