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Swim, Bike, Run, ROCK - and help fight the war on ALS!
IRONBAND holiday single released on Blazeman Record Label with 100% of proceeds going to the Blazeman Foundation in support of ALS awareness and research

Jon "Blazeman" Blais
Jon 'Blazeman' Blais

Live...
More than your neighbors.
Unleash yourself upon the world and go places.
Go now.
Giggle, no laugh.
No... stay out past dark,
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal.
This is it... your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it all in.
Yes, every chance you get...
Come close.
And by all means, whatever you do...
Get it on film.

   -Jon Blais
December 1st, 2010

It's not often that something that started as a humorous side project intended to simply bring smiles to runners, cyclists, and triathletes evolves into something with a greater purpose. And frankly, despite our being involved in a few modest philanthropic efforts over the past couple of years, you've come to know us as a bunch of semi-musically inclined, middle-of-the pack triathletes who generally don't display a note of seriousness among the off-key notes in our music.

As luck would have it, an opportunity to use our music to help fight the war on ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) fell into our laps this week and we're both humbled and excited to play a small part in the efforts of a fantastic organization.

An Ironman World Championship to Remember

For those of you who follow Ironman triathlon you will undoubtedly remember the emotional scene as Jon Blais log-rolled across the finish line at the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October, 2005. Jon, a life-long triathlete, was diagnosed earlier that year with ALS. Rather than sit back and wait for the disease to take over his life Jon fought back and set out to achieve his life-long goal of becoming an Ironman by competing in the biggest, and what would be the final, race of his life as he put it, "even if they have to roll me across the finish line."

Already suffering from the debilitating effects of the disease Jon was virtually unable to do the training normally required to compete in an Ironman. Nonetheless, he journeyed to Hawaii and stepped to the starting line as we held our breath and watched as his parents looked on from the sidelines. Along with millions of viewers worldwide we watched him struggle through the 2.4-mile swim, the 112-mile bike, and the 26.2-mile run under the hot sun and Hawaiian winds worrying, hoping, that he would reach the finish line.

Nearly sixteen and a half hours later Jon achieved the seemingly impossible when he approached the finish line, lay down, and rolled right across it. With that triumphant roll across the finish line Jon became the first person with ALS to become an Ironman and simultaneously launched a major battle on the war against ALS. In the two years between his finish in Kona and his passing in 2007, Jon became a key spokesperson and motivator, giving birth to Team Blazeman as athletes worldwide adopted his finish line log-roll, his courage, and his determination to raise awareness and further our research in the search for a cure for ALS.

Buy the Songs
Buy the songs on iTunes, help fight ALS!
 » Ironband - Please, Please Santa
 » Blazeman Band - Iron Blazeman
*Songs should be available through other digital retailers soon
In fact, that episode of the Ironman World Championship was one that I watched again after my own failed first attempt at an Ironman race landed me in the intensive care unit. Jon's courage and steely determination, his way with words, and his outlook on life are infectious and helped me to return to the same spot a year later to successfully to earn that Ironman medal that had so painfully eluded me, and terrified my family, a year earlier. That infectious nature is what helped launch the Blazeman Foundation and its army of supporters who, with the help of Jon's parents, countless friends and athletes, have raised nearly one million dollars for ALS efforts and research.

Triathlon + Music + Determination = Progress

Music and triathlon recently came together to help raise even more money. Mark Mason was an avid runner himself as a child before becoming the lead singer of the rock band Ampage at age 16. Mark spent the next 30 years living out of a tour bus and rarely getting any exercise other than tuning his guitar, all the while fighting the usual slate of vices and demons faced by many musicians.

Those years took a toll on Mark and it wasn't until years later that he tried running a mile at the pace of his youth and realized that he needed to get back in shape, and fast. He started doing the occasional 5K and 10K race and was eventually talked into signing up for his first triathlon. His triathlon career ramped up quickly and by 2009 Mark was competing in several 70.3/half-Ironman distance triathlons all the while continuing to record and perform as a musician. Along the way Mark met many athletes and eventually started working closely with a coach. In 2009 Mark was fortunate enough to cross the finish line in Kona overcoming a lifetime of odds against such a feat that, in some similar but different ways, parallel those faced by Jon in his effort at Kona just four years earlier.

In the Studio
Jasmine Oeinck, Holly Bennett, Fiona Docherty, Amanda Hahn, Chrissie Wellington, and Mark Mason in the studio
That year was also this year that Mark wrote a song called "Ironman Sam" that chronicled his journey to becoming an Ironman. While in Kona Mark met Leanda Cave, a pro triathlete and avid supporter of the Blazeman Foundation. As Mark learned more about Jon, about the Foundation, and about ALS he decided to re-write the song in honor of Jon and convinced numerous people in the triathlon community to get involved with his recording efforts.

Several Ironman pros and other high profile names are featured on the recording such as Chrissie Wellington, Leanda Cave, Mirinda Carfrae, Andy Potts, Bryan Rhodes, Scott Tinley, Mike Reilly, Matty Reed, Wingnut, Fiona Docherty, Jasmine Oeinck, Mary Miller, Amanda Hahnn, Holly Bennett and others among the The Blazeman Warriors. Mark also pulled in some big guns in the music business such as Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, Dramarama guitarist Mark Inglert, and singer Pamela Mason. That single (check out the video) is now available for purchase through your favorite digital music provider and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Blazeman Foundation.

Ironband Gets Involved

IRONBAND
"Please, Please Santa" - the video

Ironband Holiday Video
Watch
If you've made it this far in my rather lengthy back-story, I thank you for listening. Now here's the part where you can help and make an impact in the lives of those affected by ALS. I had the pleasure earlier this week of talking with Mark Mason and Jon's parents, Mary Ann and Robert Blais, about Jon, about the Blazeman Foundation, and about Mark's efforts to help support the Foundation's efforts through his music.

It wasn't until I read the recent story on ironman.com about Mark and his song that I was even aware of other "triathlete-musicians" out there doing what we do. That is, writing music about the sport and the unique people involved in the triathlon community. Of course we're not doing exactly the same thing; Mark has been a professional musician for 30 years and can pull in A-list musicians to help out at the drop of a hat while we, if we're lucky, can coax my 8-year-old into playing a few bars on the cowbell.

Elite Cycling On Board!
Elite Cycling

Our friends over at Elite Cycling, which you might recognize as part of the "set" in our holiday video, have jumped on board and have generously offered to donate a portion of all sales during the month of December to the Blazeman Foundation. Thank you Elite Cycling!

Click here to learn more!
Nevertheless, Mark liked the song that we sent out last week as our holiday video card to our friends and fans and just this week Mark released the song, "Please, Please Santa" on the Blazeman Record Label. Our song, as well as Mark's "Ironman Blazeman" song, are now on sale on iTunes and Amazon - 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these songs will go directly to the Blazeman Foundation! And stay tuned; there is talk of a compilation album involving numerous musicians and athletes as well as rumors of a benefit concert in Kona one of these days. Now that's something I'd pack the guitar, bike, and Chamois Butt'r to be a part of!

So ramp up your holiday playlist, check out our holiday video if you haven't done so already, read up on the Blazeman Foundation, and then visit iTunes to buy the songs and help support the fight against ALS (songs should be available through additional digital music retailers soon). If you want to show your support in an even bigger way, consider making a direct donation to the Foundation, or, for the athletes among you, consider joining Team Blazeman and racing for the team while supporting this worthwhile cause.

And while I cannot promise you that our song will move you to heretofore unattainable musical bliss, I can promise you that your purchase will help fund critical programs that raise awareness about ALS and for cutting-edge scientific research to help find new treatments and an eventual cure.

Now that should be music to your ears.

-David Shultz, Ironband


Ironband Holiday Video
More Info

 » Buy the singles on iTunes and help support the Blazeman Foundation!
 » Click here to learn more about the Iron Blazeman song project
 » Click here to learn more about the Blazeman Foundation
 » Click here to learn more about the Mark Mason
 » Click here to learn more about Ironman Triathlon

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