At only 29 and 30 years old, Colorado locals Ian MacGregor and Timothy Duggan have already had professional careers in two of the state’s most popular and competitive sports — skiing and cycling.
Now, the two athletes are using their experiences and connections in the sports to give back to young people in their community through the Just go Harder Foundation, a scholarship organization that they founded together in 2006.
MacGregor and Duggan met in middle school when they both raced for the Eldora Mountain Ski Club and Summit Race Team. After years of competitive skiing, both men eventually moved away from the slopes in favor of cycling. They both joined competitive cycling teams and quickly rose through the ranks of Colorado’s biking world.
Along the way, MacGregor said he and Duggan met various mentors and coaches that helped them not only in their sports careers, but also in their everyday lives. Succeeding in sports under their guidance, he said, translated into doing well in other areas of their life, like school.
“It really is amazing the impact these people had on our lives,” MacGregor said.
When they were in their mid-20s, the pair decided they wanted to use their passion for cycling and skiing and funnel it into helping others get involved in the sports and find mentors of their own. So, with the help of a handful of corporate sponsors and a dedicated team of volunteers, MacGregor and Duggan founded the Just Go Harder Foundation, which provides financial scholarships for young people interested in getting involved in skiing and cycling.
The main use of the foundation’s funds, MacGregor said, is to pay bike and ski club dues for students whose parents cannot afford to take on the cost themselves.
Another goal of the organization, MacGregor says, is to connect young people with mentors from the professional ski and biking communities. If a student who is part of a non-competitive cycling club is interested in racing, for example, then MacGregor and Duggan use their network of contacts to help connect them with a professional.
“A lot of kids don’t just need financial support,” MacGregor said. “They need a mentor.”
The foundation relies mainly on coaches from ski and cycling clubs and teams to suggest young athletes deserving of help. Some of the programs that the foundation has worked with include the Colorado High School Cycling League, Eldora Mountain Ski Club and the Single Track Mountain Bike Association.
According to MacGregor, scholarships are not based on performance. Instead, recipients are decided based on how dedicated they are to the sports.
“It’s not about success,” MacGregor said. “It’s about trying.”
“We could care less if you’re the next super star.”
Polar Bottle got involved in the foundation through a sales associate who approached Duggan and MacGregor about helping their cause.
MacGregor said he and Duggan always used Polar Bottles when they raced back in middle school so they already had a connection with the local Boulder company.
After designing a custom bottle, Polar Bottle soon launched a Just Go Harder limited edition benefit insulated sport water bottle, with $5 for every bottle sold going directly toward MacGregor and Duggan’s scholarship funds.
As of now, the foundation is dependent entirely on volunteers and donations and, according to MacGregro, every dollar counts.
“Literally $10 makes a difference,” MacGregor said.
Buy the Just Go Harder Benefit Bottle