Adventist Ironman Raises Funds for ADRA Australia

“I’m a follower of Jesus [who] also loves the outdoors and fitness.”

Ashley Stanton, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review
Adventist Ironman Raises Funds for ADRA Australia
Andrew Thompson ran a full marathon as part of his recent Ironman Triathlon participation. [Photo: Adventist Record]

Andrew Thompson completed his first Ironman Triathlon and fundraised more than AUD$4,300 (US$2,800) for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia.

A full-distance Ironman Triathlon is a 3.8-kilometer (2.4-mile) swim followed by a 180-kilometer (112-mile) cycle, then finished with a full 42.2-kilometer (26.2-mile) marathon run. On May 7, Andrew completed the Ironman Triathlon in a time of just over 14 hours and 37 minutes.

“I decided to do an Ironman Triathlon to raise money to support the people that ADRA helps,” Thompson said. “What’s the point of all that self-inflicted pain and suffering just for the superficial bragging rights of being an Ironman? For me, it needed to have a bigger purpose. The people that I’m raising money to help are doing it tough day in and day out, not just for 15 hours.”

An outdoors person by nature, adventure and fitness challenges are a constant in Thompson’s life.

“I’m a follower of Jesus [who] also loves the outdoors, fitness, and a challenge,” Thompson said. “I’ve always pushed myself to improve and try harder things through multi-pitch traditional rock-climbing, white-water kayaking, multiday sea kayaking expeditions, and multiday back country alpine expeditions.”

Always looking for the next big challenge, Thompson turned to triathlons. He tried his first triathlon in 2021 and was hooked instantly.

“I’ve become addicted to long-distance running, cycling, and swimming because it has helped me find mental focus, joy in the present moment, and a time of no distractions,” Thompson said. “So, when I had heard about the full-distance Ironman Triathlons, I was captivated by the challenge.”

Thompson’s fundraising goal is to reach AUD$5,650 (about US$3,685), or AUD$25 (about US$16.30) for every one of the 226 kilometers (140 miles) he covered in the Ironman. Donations to support his extraordinary efforts are still being accepted, he said.

About ADRA Australia

ADRA began as a department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “As a church with approximately 60,000 Australian members, Adventists are committed to demonstrating the love of God in real and practical ways,” its home page explains.

“We see the needs and opportunities present in today’s world and believe that the church — with its strong networks, ability to mobilize volunteers and other resources, its commitment to justice, and drive to love and care for people who are suffering — is in a prime position to bring about positive social change,” it says. “We are driven to work with our Creator to restore His ideal of a world without poverty.”

ADRA Australia has been active for decades but, in the last few years, was called to service to a perhaps unprecedented extent. In 2019, ADRA Australia responded to the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. More than AUD$526,000 (about US$345,000) was raised to help Australians affected by the fires.

In 2020, ADRA Australia responded to the global COVID-19 crisis as demand for food relief in Australia soared and global poverty increased for the first time in two decades. In Australia, ADRA delivered 162,310 food hampers.

Then, in 2022, ADRA Australia responded to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, raising more than AUD$626,000 (about US$410,000) to support people affected by the crisis. The response includes providing basic necessities to refugees crossing into border countries and helping facilitate the evacuation of citizens from Ukraine.

The original version of this story was posted on Adventist Record.

Ashley Stanton, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review