Good News: Swim Bike Run for Habitat

Aqua Quip teams up with Seattle Homeshow and The Fitness Shop to raise money for Habitat for Humanity

Each February since 2015, the Seattle Homeshow hosts Swim Bike Run for Habitat, a charity event created and organized by Aqua Quip, a local spa dealer. Scott Johnson, director of marketing at Aqua Quip, worked with Mike Kalian, owner of the Seattle Homeshow, “to create an event that would service our community, bring awareness to a worthy cause and, at the same time, bring awareness to swim spas, which are gaining in popularity as a year-round pool and exercise alternative.”

To create a triathlon — running, biking and swimming — Aqua Quip joined forces with BECU credit union and The Fitness Shop in Bellevue, Washington, which sells exercise equipment. With the help of Aqua Quip’s in-house graphic designer, an event logo, website, email marketing campaign and social media presence were created. Aqua Quip remains in charge of the event to this day, finding participants and running the event at the Homeshow.

Swim Bike Run for Habitat teams cannot consist of more than three participants. The swimming event is up to 50 minutes in Aqua Quip’s Hydropool swim spa, with $4 per minute donated to Habitat for Humanity. The biking leg is up to 10k on an exercise bike from The Fitness Show, with $20 donated per kilometer. The running leg is up to 5k on a treadmill from The Fitness Shop, with $40 donated per kilometer. Each leg raises up to $200 per participant and all proceeds are paid by Aqua Quip, BECU, The Fitness Shop and the Seattle Homeshow directly to King County Habitat for Humanity.

Aqua Quip uses a 17-foot training model of a Hydropool swim spa for the event. “They are, in our opinion, the absolute best for swimming against a current for an extended period of time,” Johnson says. “You need not be a trained swimmer to enjoy a great swim in a Hydropool. And this event does a great job showing homeowners in the greater Seattle area what it looks like to actually swim in a swim spa.”

With a goal of annual growth, Johnson says it can be a challenge to find more participates for the event each year. Go-to participants come back annually, and Johnson has used online tools like Appointments.com to create a more automated process for obtaining sign-ups without contacting everyone directly. Additionally, The Fitness Shop changed ownership, so there was one year that the event was just Swim for Habitat, which Johnson says was more challenging to pull off. Thankfully, he says, The Fitness Shop jumped back in the following year.

While it may be a struggle to obtain commitments, the event is gaining increased traction in the community. The event has averaged about 100 participants each year. In 2019, 132 participated, and the goal is 200 for the 2020 event. The contributions from the event also show growth. Previous years have raised $6,000 to $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity, and Johnson says they’re hoping to raise $15,000 this year. “Our overall goal is to eventually raise more than $100,000,” Johnson says. Last year they began taking donations without participation as well, which helped to boost the amount raised from Homeshow attendees. “The community gets more and more involved every year. Every year it gets a little bigger, and we add more days and time slots to accommodate the growing popularity of the event.”

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