After the passing of Dave Orlowski late last year, the Ironman Foundation has announced a grant in honor of the Ironman pioneer.
Orlowski was stationed in Honolulu at the Marine base and was at the infamous awards ceremony where the debate on who was the fittest athlete, a cyclist, runner or swimmer would result in the beginning of long-distance triathlon races. It was decided to put together the Oahu Rough Water Swim, the Around Oahu Bike Race and the Honolulu Marathon, which was organized by John and Judy Collins and called “The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.”
Wearing cutoff jeans on the bike, Orlowski ran his way to third place overall in a time of 13:59:13. Since then he’s been a regular at Ironman events around the world. In 2008 he returned to Honolulu to complete the original course to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Ironman.
“In memory of Dave Orlowski, one of the original Ironman finishers from 1978 and Ironman Foundation Board of Directors member, the Ironman Foundation has launched the Dave Orlowski Memorial Grant to acknowledge one of the pioneers of the sport of triathlon. At the request of the Orlowski family, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received the first Dave Orlowski Memorial Grant in the amount of $5,000 following Dave’s passing on Dec. 15, 2020. The annual grant will honor Dave’s legacy of service through sport and commitment to community by recognizing charitable organizations throughout Ironman and Ironman 70.3 race communities. The 2021 Dave Orlowski Memorial Grant will be distributed to an organization within in the Kailua-Kona, Hawaii community, home of the Ironman World Championship and a location near and dear to Dave. Grantees will be announced on a date near Dave’s birthdate of August 25 and will be selected by local Race Directors.”
The announcement of the $5,000 dollar grant comes with news from the Ironman Foundation about its Ironaid COVID support programs, which will look to build on the $500,000 distributed to charities in 2020.