When junior Chris Catinis saw the initial effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the Greater New Orleans community, he knew he had to find a way to help.
“There have been lots of challenges,” said Catinis. “The virus has taken a toll on local businesses, healthcare workers, and even our lifestyles. I wanted to find a way to benefit both the healthcare workers and local businesses by buying meals from local restaurants and delivering those meals to the healthcare workers, but I needed the money to do it.”
Catinis turned to his father, George Catinis, an avid runner who had told Chris how his races were cancelled due to social distancing. That conversation sparked an idea.
“I thought maybe if I organized a race with an entry fee and a prize for the top participants, then I could raise enough money to support this cause,” said Catinis.
Catinis organized the Coronavirus Duathlon, which took place April 11-12. The self-administered race challenged participants to ride trainer or outdoor bikes for 20 miles, then run 6 miles. Racers uploaded their times and distances using personal tracking devices.
The effort raised more than $1,290. Catinis used the proceeds to purchase more than 100 meals from three local restaurants, which he delivered to local healthcare workers. Supporters were able to track the progress on a Facebook page
Catinis said working on the fundraiser has enabled him to feel like he’s being helpful during an uncertain and difficult time.
“It’s been tough overall,” said Catinis. “The most challenging part is probably not being able to see my classmates or close friends as often as I want to, and maintaining social distancing.”
Catinis says he is considering hosting another race to try to benefit even more healthcare workers and local businesses.
“It feels great to know that I am helping the people who are working endless hours trying to take care of patients with COVID-19,” said Catinis.