• Photo for Become Greater Than One: Train For an Endurance Event and Help Fight AIDS
    Photo Credit: San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Become Greater Than One: Train For an Endurance Event and Help Fight AIDS

By L. K. Regan

Have you been thinking about entering an event like a triathlon or marathon? Would you like to give back to the community at the same time? Then we’d like to encourage you to check out Greater Than One, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s new endurance event training program. This is a great way to get in better shape while raising money for an important cause. Here’s what it’s about.

Greater Than One is a training program through the San Francisco AIDS Foundation targeting specific endurance events such as the Wildflower Triathlon and the San Francisco Marathon and Half-Marathon. The program is based on the idea that, by participating in events and raising funds to fight HIV/AIDS, individual athletes can come together to become part of something bigger than just themselves. As Robert Pinnix, Greater Than One's director tells us, "We really wanted to create a portfolio of events that would expand on the spirit of the AIDS Walk and AIDS/Lifecycle, and to offer a range of experiences for our participants. We wanted a triathlon, a marathon; a diverse portfolio so that everyone can get involved. This way, there is always something going on, year round." So, participants in Greater Than One sign up to train for an endurance event and raise funds for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation through sponsors. In the process, they build community, help fight AIDS, and get seriously ripped.

Participants in Greater Than One enroll in a multi-week training program that differs from event to event but that always includes working with specialty coaches. The program trains athletes at all levels, from beginners to experienced competitors. Much of the training involves group sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, with participants sorted into groups by skill level (though you can voluntarily move up or down a group if you feel your skill level is changing). As Pinnix says, "The program also provides a Participant Representative who is a single point of contact for all fundraising and training needs, from helping you get a bike to finding new sources of fundraising. And, each participant has access to a customizable personal web page to help your donors find you."

While Greater Than One trains people for a number of events that are not produced by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the jewel in the crown is clearly the SFAF's own Seismic Challenge, a two-day bike-ride along the San Andreas Fault, from Fort Bragg to San Francisco. As Pinnix says, this is a great alternative to the AIDS/Lifecycle, "If you can't take a week off of work, or you're just looking for a completely different experience, here’s a chance to challenge yourself and be part of a community. By the end of the ride, everyone knows each other's name, and feels they've really come together to build something great."

This is really the purpose of Greater Than One—to fulfill the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's mission of blending community outreach, health, and fundraising. So, as Pinnix says, "Our idea is that while preparing for and competing in events, you're constantly promoting the idea of good health to everyone you're asking for support. So everyone who comes in contact with the Foundation's mission is getting the health message, and learning about the Foundation and how we help prevent HIV infections. This is part of our community outreach and broadening the base of the community the Foundation interacts with."

So that's what Greater Than One can do for the community. But how about what it can do for you? Pinnix describes the experience of riders on the Seismic Challenge: "The greatest thing was seeing people come onto Seismic Challenge who didn't know fundraising or even own a bike, and to watch them transform from the first training ride when they were in the back of the pack, to the end of the ride when they crossed the finish line as a real rider and super-fit. They learned a lot about themselves, but also about the Foundation and fundraising—they learned to their surprise that fundraising is easier that they thought. A total transformation into an athlete and a community member." To get healthy and get involved: this is what Greater Than One is about.

To encourage RealJock members to join an event through Greater Than One, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is offering a 50 dollar discount on registrations for any upcoming events. To take advantage of this generous offer, just enter the word "jock" in the space for discount codes on the registration page at