Newport Beach resident Marisa Wayne has grit, a necessary attribute if you want to succeed in the boutique fitness world. The youngest daughter of John Wayne, a longtime Newport Beach resident who won an Academy Award for the 1969 film “True Grit,” Marisa launched GritCycle in Costa Mesa in 2013.
In the past year, the company has added four locations throughout Orange County, as well as a studio in East Long Beach at the new Long Beach Exchange. Marisa and GritCycle co-founder Matt Bourne, along with business partner Joe Pham, have announced that the company will open its sixth studio this month in Ladera Ranch.
To celebrate its continued success, GritCycle plans to make its 6th Annual Gritty Up fundraiser for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, which takes place at the Lido House Hotel on Balboa Peninsula May 31 and June 1, the biggest to date.
The Gritty Up fundraiser includes a party and auction on Friday, and a three-hour indoor cycling ride on Saturday to support the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in its mission to improve outcomes for cancer patients and save lives through cancer research, education, awareness and support.
This year’s event falls just after what would have been John Wayne’s 112th birthday (May 26) and just before the 40th anniversary of his passing (June 11).
The Duke lost his courageous battle with cancer at the age of 72. According to Marisa, when he was diagnosed, his publicist and agent said that this macho cowboy could not admit to having cancer because it would ruin his image.
“He didn’t listen,” said Marisa. “He said ‘I am going to speak out and help other people who are going through it.’ His dying wish was to use his name to help people. He had no clue that people would still be talking about him 40 years later.”
On Friday, May 31, the 6th Annual Gritty Up Auction + Party at the Lido House Hotel will unite all of the fundraising event’s participants, sponsors, volunteers, family and friends for an evening of cocktails, dancing and live and silent auctions. There will also be a performance by musical guest, Jerrod Niemann, to kick off the evening, followed by DJ Trust to close out the night.
Sponsors of this year’s Gritty Up fundraiser include Charles Schwab, As One LLC, John Wayne Enterprises, the Argyros Family Foundation/Arnel & Affiliates, RD Olson, Pelagic Gear, Spieker Company, OC Monster Cart, L*SPACE, Emerald Hare, and Duke Bourbon.
Then, on Saturday, June 1, GRIT Cycle will host the Gritty Up Ride (also at the Lido House Hotel) where 100 teams of cyclists — who have been raising funds prior to the Ride — will complete a three-hour indoor cycling class. After last year’s impressive $373,000 raised, the goal for 2019 is $400,000.
The bikes will be placed in the hotel’s special event room. For the three hour ride, some teams have multiple riders, some have a solo rider.
“Our goal is $400,000, which is the most we’ve ever raised,” said Marisa. “Over the last five years, we’ve raised $1.2 million, which goes to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. We fund cancer prevention and education in 11 states. We educate junior lifeguards, give them hats and sunscreen, which is the easiest way to prevent cancer.”
And then there’s the John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, where they do cancer treatments and research.
“We have doctors that come from all over the world and train on their specialty under our doctors,” explained Marisa. “They come for a year or two and then go off to their own cancer centers. We now have a network of doctors who have been trained through the John Wayne Cancer Institute. It’s a great program.”
A handful of tickets to the Friday night Gritty Up party are still available for $199 and include food, Duke Bourbon and the as-yet unreleased Duke Tequila, entertainment, and a live and silent auction. Silent auctions items will be available for bidding on the Grit Cycle website a few days before the party.
Tickets are available at GritCycle.com. You can also sign up yourself or a team to ride on Saturday, but those bikes are going fast—as fast as you can peddle. They are still accepting items for the silent auction, anything from trips to smaller items like restaurant gift certificates, wine, jewelry, and art.
“This will be such a fun event, and we love the Lido House,” said Marisa. “This is a wonderful way to bring people together and give back to the community.”
The Duke would be proud.