Saul Raisin once had a dream of winning the Tour de France. Goals change as life changes, Raisin said, and he has a new dream now.
The well-known Dalton native and former pro cyclist has started a campaign to participate in the Ironman World Championship on Oct. 13 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Raisin overcame life-threatening injuries, including a serious brain injury, suffered during a crash in the first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe race in France in April 2006. At the time, he was competing with French pro team Crédit Agricole.
He endured a coma and, even after returning home, a long recovery process that ended without a return to pro cycling. But he has remained active in other ways and is doing well.
“Doctors told me that out of everyone with a brain injury similar or as severe as mine, that not even 1 percent of people make a recovery like mine,” Raisin said this past week in a phone interview with The Daily Citizen.
After his recovery, Raisin began putting his efforts toward helping victims of brain injuries and their families. In 2007, he began hosting the annual Raisin Hope Foundation Ride to raise money toward combating brain injury. Over the past five years, the Raisin Hope Foundation has raised more than $250,000 toward helping others with injuries similar to the ones suffered by Raisin, according to the foundation’s website.
Now, he wants to go from “Coma to Kona.” The Ironman World Championship is a triathlon made up of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon (a 26.2-mile run). Raisin is hoping for a spot in the Ironman, and he created a video to help him get there.
“That to me is like the hardest one-day sporting event on Earth,” Raisin said. “And to show the world that I can complete this after recovering from brain injury would mean a lot. I’ve done five (half triathlons), and I’m going to go and start training now for the end of October.”
He’s asking for your help to make sure his training has a test waiting at the end. Ironman’s “Kona Inspired” contest will ultimately select eight inspirational individuals to compete and be highlighted as “media athletes” whose stories are documented, and Raisin wants to be one of them.
On his foundation’s website, raisinhope.org, there’s an events tab. If you click on “Kona Inspired” you’ll see the event description and a Facebook link to a video showing Raisin after his injuries and during his recovery. Once the video is opened, viewers can vote for it either by clicking the “Vote For This” button or clicking the red “Vote Now” icon.
Raisin said a viewer can vote for the same video multiple times, and one does not need to be registered for Facebook to vote. That process will continue through May 31, after which 45 finalists will be selected based on online voting. There will be more steps after that, but this is the start of Raisin’s newest quest.
“I’m just trying to get as many people to vote over and over and over for that,” Raisin said, noting he has around 10,000 votes thus far and believes he is in second or third place. “Tell Daltonians to vote for me 100 times each.”
Well, there it is. For those who have already been inspired by Raisin’s tale, take some time to view his video, vote and show support for someone who is completing another chapter of a special comeback story. And even if you didn’t know his story before now, here’s a great chance to give a boost to an area resident.
• Coahulla Creek’s girls soccer team is making some noise in Sub-region 7B-2A and walked away with the Walker County Invitational championship two weekends ago, beating teams from higher classifications in the process. The Lady Colts (7-1-1) have sub-region games this week at Chattooga (5:30 p.m. Tuesday) and Sonoraville (5 p.m. Thursday).
The boys are looking strong, too. They face the same two teams this week — their games will follow the girls — and also have a continued match with visiting Dade County today. The Colts (5-3, 1-1) led 2-0 after 20 minutes of play Thursday before inclement weather stopped the game for the night.
And, as my colleague Chris Whitfield wrote in a previous edition of “What’s Going On?”, it will be tough to catch Morris Innovative play close to home this season. However, fans will get the chance to see the Tigers travel to North Murray on Friday, when kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
• A number of area golf teams will compete in matches this week — most notably today.
Christian Heritage travels to Belle Mead Country Club for the Augusta Prep Invitational, Coahulla Creek heads to Battlefield Golf Course in Fort Oglethorpe for a head-to-head match with Gordon Lee, Dalton’s Lady Catamounts and North Murray’s girls will play a round at Indian Trace, Northwest Whitfield’s boys head to the MCI Invitational at Maple Ridge Golf Course in Columbus and the Lady Bruins will be in the St. Pius X Par 3 Tournament at Peachtree Golf Center in Duluth.
Don’t forget you can always check out the local prep schedule for the week in the “Scoreboard” section of the The Daily Citizen, typically found on page 3B. It’s also online at daltonnow.com/events.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.