Traditionally, decathlons test the athletic abilities of just one individual.
However, the D10, a national sporting and philanthropic organization, has deconstructed the conventional routine, dispersing the 10 track and field contests among a team through annual events in major cities across the country. The tournaments not only foster collective competition but concurrently raise funds for pediatric cancer treatment and research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
For the first time since its inception, the D10, which has raised more than $14 million through its charities, is coming to Philadelphia at Franklin Field on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
And a South Philadelphian is working to bring the event to life.
“We do believe there is something much more rewarding and impactful about sharing that experience with a team versus just competing as an individual,” said Graduate Hospital resident Anwar Jones, market director at The D10 – Health, Wellness and Fitness. “There’s also something that’s very awesome about – while you are appreciating your blessings, in terms of your athletic abilities, how do you take that opportunity and give back to people who are less fortunate?”
The D10 has been striving to give back to those less fortunate for the last decade, when it started as the The Wall Street Decathlon in New York City.
The small event gathered financial professionals with former high school and college athletes to compete in similar settings from their glory days.
After a few years of success in New York, the program, which transformed into the D10, began expanding to other cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Dallas and Austin.
Although the event has expanded as far as even Denver, Jones says it retains its original mission.
“To find a reason outside of yourself to do something that’s also rewarding – i.e. fundraiser for pediatric cancer research,” he said. “You’re helping people. You’re helping yourself and you’re reliving these intrinsic motivators that once kept you going throughout your high school and college careers…The one aspect of The D10 that we pride ourselves on is – it really is based on an experience, like a community-building experience.”
And where else can one seek community-building other than Philadelphia?
After Jones was hired by the organization this spring, he started organizing and networking with athletes and professionals around Philly, securing the city as one of the 10 metro regions the D10 has reached just this year.
“I don’t want the Philadelphia D10 to look or feel like the Houston D10 or the New York D10,” Jones said. “It shouldn’t, because the Philadelphia community is different.”
While the event continues to seek both teams and individuals for the July event, several participants have already signed up, including a few teams representing South Philadelphia.
The co-ed teams of up to four members are prepping for the tournament, which includes a 400-meter run, football throw, pull-ups, 40-yard dash, broad jump, 500-meter row, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle sprint, bench press and 800-meter run.
Since May, teams have been vigorously training while simultaneously raising money for their contribution to pediatric cancer research and treatment.
“Everybody has their different strengths, so we split the events,” said East Passyunk-area resident Kyle Horne. “It’s cool to divvy those things up depending upon people’s skills.”
Horne says he was drawn to the D10 event because of its team-centric essence but also due to the underlying objective.
His team, which is comprised of four individuals, has set a goal of raising $5,000 for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“That, to me, is incredibly meaningful,” Horne said. “This is not just going to go in the pockets of someone who probably doesn’t need it. But, the ability to do it with a cause. To be able to give back to a cause, especially that foundation, it definitely is motivational, and it’s nice to know that there is more than just you and your small world benefitting. It’s touching a greater number of lives from the patients to the doctors to the families.”
Folks interested in signing up with a team, as an individual or as a free agent have to register for the July 20 tournament. The D10 team urges individuals to register two weeks prior to the event, but reach out to Jones directly for possible exceptions or questions.
Close to $169,000 has already been raised from the Philadelphia event alone. Jones says there is no established monetary goal set for the Franklin Field event, but the objective runs much deeper.
“The goal is for everyone to do the best they can with a sincere effort to raise funds for a great cause…Whether it’s a child that you know that is suffering from cancer, we all, I would suggest, have known someone that has either suffered or struggled in the past from cancer,” Jones said. “So, it’s hard for that humanistic element not to impact people in some way, shape or form.”
To register, visit philly.thed10.com/team_registration
Anwar Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org