Ray Smith – Tennis coach skis to help quake victims
By Emily Sorensen
Although tennis is Ray Smith’s first love, a growing interest in skiing marathons has him attempting to raise money for New Zealand earthquake victims.
A Poway High School graduate and former tennis coach for Poway High School and Rancho Bernardo High School, Smith can now be found giving private tennis lessons at the Rancho Bernardo Swim and Tennis Club. He was recently awarded All-San Diego Junior Team Tennis Coach of the Year. “I’ve been coaching for a long time,” said Smith. He also teaches physical education classes part-time for Twin Oaks Elementary in San Marcos.
When he’s not busy coaching future Wimbledon champions, Smith is working on his skiing — for a good cause. Two years ago, Smith was in New Zealand training for a ski marathon, in a place called Snow Farm near Wanaka. He left the country after the Merino Muster marathon a week ahead of the earthquake, which stayed with him. After attending a fundraiser last year and learning about Save Christchurch Now!, a charity dedicated to raising money for earthquake-damaged Christchurch, New Zealand, Smith got interested. “New Zealand is a beautiful place,” said Smith. “I wanted to earn some money for them.” Christchurch was hit by an earthquake in September 2010, then another in February 2011, and an aftershock in June 2011, severely damaging the city and killing nearly 200 people.
While Smith is just starting his fundraising efforts, he’s hoping to have people sponsor him per mile skied in marathons and races. “I need to get a little more organized on my fundraising,” Smith admitted. Other than his first full marathon in New Zealand, Smith has done some ski half-marathons in Mammoth. “The full marathons get to me,” said Smith. Smith trains on roller skis, using long poles to simulate skiing on snowy mountain slopes, and often trains on the Torrey Pines grade. “It’s a great workout going up,” said Smith.
Smith also attempted the “Tour of the Methow,” a 50-mile ski event in the mountains of Washington. Smith managed to ski 19 miles. “Then I learned it was all advanced, and I hadn’t done any advanced skiing before,” said Smith. He’s hoping to go back to Methow to work on his downhill skiing, in order to be better prepared for his fundraising ski marathons.
For more information on how to help Smith raise money for rebuilding Christchurch, call Ray Smith at 858-487-6861 or visit RaySmiths
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