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Pelicans Assistant Bryan Gates Racing for a Cause

By: Blake Moore, Pelicans.com

New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Bryan Gates and his friend, Hunter Bertrand, are racing the 28th Annual Sandestin Triathlon in memory of Frank Guinn and to raise money for his family.

Visiting New Orleans to compete in the Ironman 70.3, Guinn was killed April 11 when he was struck by a car while training for the event with two other cyclists on Chef Menteur Highway in eastern New Orleans.

A firefighter for nine years and a sergeant for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, the 36-year-old is survived by his wife Kim Guinn and 7-year-old identical triplet daughters.

The incident hit close to home for Gates and Bertrand, who are both fathers of triplets. Gates has two boys and a girl and Bertrand has three boys.

“I was talking to Coach (Randy) Ayers the day after it happened, and he told me how they both gave back to the community, being a firefighter and a school teacher,” Gates said. “When he said that I decided I was going to do something and take a stand. There are certain causes we get behind that touch our hearts and this one touched mine.”

Gates’ wife, Robin, went to the Ironman 70.3 to support and meet Frank’s wife. After exchanging messages, Gates asked Kim if they could use Frank’s name for their race. She responded, “Absolutely!”

Gates has already completed two triathlons in Louisiana, but the Aug. 23 Sandestin Triathlon will be his longest race. Gates said he’s been training since the end of the season for the half-mile swim, 20-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run.

“We live in River Ridge. I’ll bike from our house to the Destrehan Bridge and back, which is about 24 miles round trip, as well as swimming in Elmwood,” Gates said.

Gates, 41, is currently training at 2 hour and 10 minutes for the distance, which is only 10 minutes above the average time for his age group.

“I’m bound and determined to do this in 2 hours,” Gates said. “It’s easy to skip a day of training, but now that we’re doing this for a cause my drive is that much more.”

Gates said his biggest strength in this 3-part race will be swimming and the biggest challenge will be running.

“The hardest thing is getting off a bike and running,” Gates said. “Your legs feel a thousand pounds for the first mile.”

Gates and Bertrand will be raising money for the Guinn family. “For Frank’s Girls-Sandestin Triathlon,” is a website where people are able to help support the Guinn family.

“If something ever happened to me, I would want people to rally around and help Robin in someway, somehow,” Gates said.

“It feels great. It’s so different than just asking people for money,” Gates said. “They have a goal and I am going to help them get to that goal.”

Gates said he plans to continue doing triathlons after the Sandestin event and always will have Frank in his mind.

To help sponsor Gates and Bertrand’s race, you can visit http://www.gofundme.com/96byms.