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'The Bachelorette's' Ryan Sutter has one more event to go in his 10.10.10 First Descents Challenge

October 26, 2010 | 11:16 am

Ryan Ryan Sutter spends his workday helping people as a lieutenant with the Vail, Colo. Fire Department. Sutter, however, is likely better known to the public as the finalist on Season 1 of "The Bachelorette," in which he won the heart of Trista Rehn in 2003 (they married later that year and now have two children).

Now, the 36-year-old Avon, Colo., resident, is out to help people -- specifically, young adults -- battling cancer.

To do so, Sutter is participating in the 10.10.10 First Descents Challenge, pushing to reach his goal of completing 10 athletic challenges and along the way inspire 10,000 people to contribute $10 each, hoping to collect a total of $100,000 for First Descents, a nonprofit organization that provides free outdoor-adventure therapy for young adults with cancer.

By the end of 2010, Sutter will have trained for 700 hours, traveled 8,500 miles and climbed the equivalent of Mt. Everest four times.

"The point was to really challenge myself, to see what I could accomplish and to take some of the inspiration that I've gotten from watching some of the campers at First Descents," Sutter said.

Sutter has completed nine of the 10 challenges thus far -- Bolder Boulder in Boulder, Colo.; the Ultimate Mountain Challenge at Teva Mountain Games in Vail; the Firecracker 50 Mountain Bike Race in Breckenridge, Colo.; the XTERRA Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, Colo.; the Ironman Lake Placid (N.Y.); the Leadville (Colo.) 100; the SCOTT Fire Fighter Challenge in Vail; the Nautica Malibu Triathlon and the 24 Hours of Moab (Utah). His final event will be the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7.

"Seeing the way that these young adults have confronted this disease and the strength and endurance that they've demonstrated through that process has inspired me to do more with my life," Sutter said.

To date, Sutter has 819 donors and has raised $38,640.49 in honor of First Descents' 10-year anniversary -- quite a ways to go to reach his goal, yet not insurmountable.

Based in Vail, First Descents provides outdoor-adventure opportunities at no charge for young adults ages 18 to 39 who are fighting cancer. Founded by pro kayaker Brad Ludden in 2001, the program has grown from a single camp event its first year to nine weeklong programs held in six different states in 2009.

"First Descents is able to do a lot with that much money," Sutter said. "$100,000 is going to go a long way, so $10 is really a small price to pay."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Ryan Sutter competes in the Ironman Lake Placid. Credit: Larry Rosa