Former professional triathlete Mike Trees and his wife, Rieko, have established a disaster fund for Japan called Tri4Japan.
The fund’s aim is to raise money for the town of Kamaishi, which has a deep history in the sport of triathlon and which has been devastated by Japan’s recent earthquakes and tsunami.
“We instantly knew we had to do something,” said Trees, who lived in Japan for many years and raced internationally for Great Britain, where he was born, and Japan. “One of the port towns called Kamaishi was literally washed away in front of our eyes.”
Trees plans to visit Kamaishi once it is safe to do so. At this time, rescue workers are still unable to reach the site, he said.
Trees used to race at the Kamaishi International Triathlon, which has also hosted pros such as Cameron Brown, Loretta and Luke Harrop, Rina Bradshaw Hill, Glende Magnum, Chris Hill, Stephen Farrell and Jason Metters.
The triathlon’s race organizer was missing for several days, but reports indicate that he is safe and living at a refugee center, Trees said.
He also said that he has already received much support from the triathlon community, including from Newton Running, BlueSeventy, Speedo, Tri247.com, Gu, and former British world champions Tim Don, Helen Jenkins, and Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.
For more information and to find out how you can help, visit www.tri4japan.com.