November 17, 2015
FLO Cycling - Ken Kaczmarz Interview
We received an email a short while ago that was simple and to the point. The email said...
Just completed Ironman #3 on your wheels.
This time I raised $25,000 for trafficked kids.
That’s $45,000 raised for trafficked kids running ironman for world vision, using your wheels. The attached photo is freaking awesome. Feel free to use it.
The first thing that caught my eye was completing a third Ironman. This alone is an amazing feat, but the next sentence really drew me in. This customer had raised $25,000 for a single race and $45,000 in total for trafficked kids?! To be honest, I was really impressed and I wanted to learn more. I wrote to Ken Kaczmarz - or Kaz as we will refer to him - and asked if I could interview him for our blog. I'm happy to say, he said yes. Check out the interview below.
FLO Cycling: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, how long have you been doing triathlon, and what do you do for a living?
Kaz: I'm Ken Kaczmarz from La Grange park IL, just outside of Chicago. I've been racing triathlon since 2011. Training started in 2009 with running and I needed to expand on that as I was getting bored! I really enjoyed cycling as a kid- I had a PK Ripper in the early 80s and rode it every day. Bike riding was a huge part of my life and figured that triathlon would be the next step - especially since I swam in high school. In 2013 I decided to get serious and attempt Ironman in 2014 - so I purchased a Felt tri bike and FLO wheels. Over the past 6 years my race highlights include 3 full Ironmans, 5 halfs, 12 marathons and a Dopey challenge!
I am an engineering director when I'm not training for Ironman or fundraising with World Vision . My wife Barb and I have two children Nina and Nadia Jo. (Yes, we are Barbie and Ken)
FLO Cycling: You've been working with "Team World Vision" to help raise money for trafficked children. Who is "Team World Vision" and what do they do?
Kaz: Team World vision is a fundraising race team for World Vision- who is the 11th largest charity in America. World vision raises almost a billion dollars a year to fight poverty and famine, bring disaster relief, bring clean water to those who need it around the globe, protecting children from being trafficked - as well as dozens of other amazing activities - all centered around helping the most needy people on the planet.
Team world vision has been around for 10 years; it was founded by my friend Michael Chitwood, who felt a calling to use endurance sports as a way to help others. Our team is made up of thousands of runners and hundreds of triathletes. We run 6k races, half and full marathons, Ironman 70.3 and the Ironman. The majority of the team raises money to bring clean water to African children - where more than 1000 children die daily from contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene. Some of us run for the child protection group within World Vision. This group works to prevent trafficking, rescue those who have been trafficked and restore those who were rescued. Child protection also works to end forced child labor, child soldiers and FGM.
FLO Cycling: How long have you been raising money for trafficked children, how have you been raising the money, and how much have you raised to date?
Kaz: I joined Team World Vision in 2011- running the Chicago marathon and raising water for clean water. In 2012 I did the same. In '13 I ran Chicago and New York marathons, where I started fundraising for child protection. In 2014 and 2015 I raced with our triathlon team - racing steelhead 70.3 and Madison 140.6 both years.
In terms of funds raised, my friends and family have helped me raise over $60,000 in total. Every year has been larger than the previous- this year we raised $25,000 to help end child trafficking!
The past two years we have had a fundraising event. This year- we had 3 hard rock bands and a silent auction at a local tavern - where we raised $12,000 drinking beer and listening to KISS and ACDC tribute bands.
FLO Cycling: What is next for you in terms of raising money for Team World Vision and trafficked children?
Kaz: I just started my 2016 fundraising! I plan to race Ironman 70.3 steelhead, Ironman Madison, Chicago marathon, and perhaps the New York marathon. I have set a lofty goal of $50,000; which is achievable- but will be difficult- just like Ironman. My page is
FLO Cycling: How can other help spread awareness about your cause or get involved?
Kaz: The simple way is to donate. The better way is to join our teams and fundraise! We have many free spots available on the Madison 2016 team, where we ask our team members to raise $5000 if they accept a free bib. The top fundraiser receives a spot in KONA!
We also have a team in steelhead 70.3, where we have our own starting wave. (Wave #3!!) We run many marathons including Chicago, New York, Indy, Detroit, LA, and many others- check us out at
If you desire a spot in Madison or steelhead- email our triathlon leader, Billy Downs, at email@example.com
We hope you have enjoyed this interview. Please leave your questions and comments below.