I can't think of a better way to pay tribute to Chase than to be called In(Chase)spiring!
as he celebrates his 10th birthday in Heaven. We celebrate the life he lived so well for just 7 years. In honor of his birthday, we have completed an inspiring nine or more events from 5ks to Ironman distances to lead to this 10th and final fun run in honor of Chase. We dig deep into our faith to carry us through the days that are most difficult and we are thankful for the days that are filled with love, laughter and the fond memories of a beautiful blonde boy with his toothless smile, a superman of sorts. Chase has been the inspiration to both the young and old, fit and not so fit, leading to healthy lifestyle guided by amazing coaches, junior coaches and now new triathletes. All of which keeps Chase's legacy going from Birthday 2 Birthday from three R4C programs to eight; always building, always growing, always celebrating Chase. "Happy Birthday Son!"
You are and will be one of our three greatest gifts from God. Love you to the moon and back. You'll always be amazing and In(Chase)spirational.
Rebecca Kowalski selected National Award Winner
Fleet Feet and Mizuna honored Rebecca Kowalski with the National Power of Running to Inspire Award
On October 28th, 2015, Rebecca Kowalski and Susanne Navas, B2B and Race4Chase Kids Triathlon coach, were celebrated by receiving the local Power of Running to Inspire Award presented by Fleet Feet in cooperation with Mizuna to honor runners that inspire others in their community. At this ceremony, Fleet Feet announced that Rebecca Kowalski was submitted by Fleet Feet West Hartford to be considered as one of the five recipients of the national award and that subsequently Rebecca was selected as a National Winner! Fleet Feet and Mizuma will make a video describing Rebecca's story to be played at all Fleet Feet locations nationally.
Rebecca Kowalski, Susanne Navas and their admirers at Fleet Feet West Hartford
B2B Challenge FINALE
at Great Hollow Lake
Steve Kowalski sent the runners on their way to an explosion of color (probably the work of a Color Me Rad bib holder). As the running revelers skirted the upper fields on their way into the back woods, there were a few curious stares from Monroe soccer mom's and dad's wondering what they were missing.
The course was lined with creepy clowns, cobwebs filled with threatening spiders and even a zombie graveyard thanks to our many decrepit volunteers. The zombie run gave new meaning to running scared!
It was a celebration to remember for Chase's 10th birthday and Halloween. What better way to celebrate his spirit than with a 5k zombie fun run! There were games, prizes, a slinky Lego cat howling at the moon, a pumpkin patch and a 20' finish line cat to greet our smiling participants. B2B Challengers from Florida to CT had a blast! All the runners raced through the trail course greeted by many volunteers and scarecrows. The endless photo opportunities were the highlight of the event.
Thankyou to all our volunteers who made the event a success, especially Amy Primorac and Sue DeGeorge who brought everything together without a hitch, plus Betsy Steak for organizing our team of Zombies and Jacklyn Krikorian for all the decorations at the photo stations.
Congratulations to our Pumpkin Design and Candy Corn Contest Winners:
Sue, Jack and Alexis Garity plus Vicky Pernik
submitted the pumpkin (shown above) which best captured the spirit of Chase and the Birthday 2 Birthday event. We thank them for their creativity and the efforts in travelling from Florida to share in the FINALE!
was able to guess the closest to the number of candy corn in the Jar at the B2B Challenge. He is pictured here (left) with his sister, Elise (right) and below his father, Steve,
at the Bigelow Tea 5k Community Challenge at the end of September.
USA Triathlon Foundation Mission Enhanced by CMAK
In March 2015, the newly formed USA Triathlon Foundation awarded one of their first grants to the CMAK Foundation to support the 2015 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program. Given the success of the program and its ability to fulfill part of the USA Triathlon Foundation's mission, The Foundation requested CMAK to present the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program to some of their supporters at a fundraising event at the NYAC in midtown Manhattan on November 12th. The evening also highlighted the USAT Foundation support of paralympic athletes and elite triathlon olympic hopefuls through presentations by Melissa Stockwell, 3 x paratriathlon World Champion, and Gwen Jorgensen, top ranked world female triathlete. We thank USA Triathlon Foundation for their support and this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program.
(l-r: Stephen and Rebecca Kowalski, Gwen Jorgensen, Melissa Stockwell and Kevin Grimes)
NEW CMAK Race4Chase VIDEO
Check out the latest CMAK video highlighting the Race4CHase Kids Triathlon Program and the RAce4Chase Kids Tri in Monroe
2016 Race4Chase Youth Triathlon Program Application Process Coming to a Close
CMAK has been accepting Letter of Intent from prospective Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program sites within and outside of Connecticut. Preliminary reports show great enthusiasm for the program from former sites as well as new sites that have heard of the wide success the program enjoyed in 2015. We should be able to expand the program to an additional 5 sites in 2016. It is not too late to bring the program to your community. We will continue to accept Letter of Intent through November 30th and will shortly thereafter decide with which sites we will take the next steps.
2016 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program Application
SAVED THE DATE:
Saturday, JULY 10th, 2016 !!!
Race4Chase Kids Triathlon
Wolfe Park, Great Hollow Lake
Kids 6-12 yrs old
Registration Opens Mother's Day 2016
DISNEY, Here We Come!
Jim O'Rourke was the lucky winner of the 4 Walt Disney World Hopper Passes that were raffled off at the Birthday 2 Birthday Challenge Finale. These passes provide admission to a magical experience at the 4 unique theme parks: the Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney's Hollywood Studios®, or Disney's Animal Kingdom® for one day. Congratulations to you and Your family!
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Brian Mora returns to Conquer Ironman Florida
At inception of the CMAK Foundation in early 2013, Brian Mora was one of the first athletes being inspired by Chase's story and competing in his name. Since that time, Brian has raised significant funds to support CMAK and its mission while continuing his dedication to triathloning from his home in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Brian came north to share with the Kowalski the Chase's Playground build in Normandy Beach NJ and ran in the NYC Marathon with Kevin Bresnahan in 2013. After starting a family and pulling back a bit on his triathloning in 2014, Brian decided to tackle the Ironman distance for the first time.
Here Brian recounts his quest:
by Brian Mora
I guess it starts by saying that 2012 was a life changing year in several ways: (1) I transitioned from being a runner into a triathlete and (2) I came to learn of Chase thru the events that took place in Sandy Hook.
2013 was a year of inspiration as I raced 350+ miles, racing 15+ times all in the name of Chase. We got Race4Chase off the ground and I raised north of $30k. I completed my 2nd Half Ironman in 2013 but never imagined I would be able to tackle the Ironman 140.6. The full 140.6 Ironman presents so many challenges:
1. Time commitment (how would I find the time with a work schedule where I travel 2-3 days per week and average 55-60 hours/week of work + have a toddler at home too??)
2. Mental toughness (could I truly endure the grind of thousands of swimming, biking and running training miles and the 12-15 hour race itself?)
3. Physical (I suffer from severe leg cramps in my quads and hamstrings when the temperature is warm and I'm going long distances... would I even be able to survive 140.6 miles physically?)
Race day started in the worst way I could imagine: I'm not a strong swimmer and my first look at the ocean revealed waves that were cresting to 4-5 feet. The question became not whether I could swim 2.4 miles in THAT ocean but could I even make it 2.4 feet? I can tell you that I never talked to God more in a 90 minute time period than I did during my 1 hour, 36 min swim thru the rough ocean waters.
I was so relieved to get out of that water and be onto the bike. Now I would need to bike 112 miles. The bike started out tremendous. I was hammering 20 mph thru the first 20 miles and maintained a speed north of 19.0 mph for the next 50-60 miles. The bike is my best discipline and I really prepared having done 3 or 4 training rides of 100+ miles and dozens of other rides north of 70-80 miles. However, at mile 85 of the bike, the combination of a rough swim and a huge effort on the bike hit me like a ton of bricks. I honestly spent 30 minutes thinking I was going to throw up, pass out and was close to quitting the race. I slowed down to 15 mph, ate some foot, had some water and tried to recover. It took me until mile 100 but I finally started to feel better and managed to complete the bike.
Now, all that's left is a marathon. Haha! I started the run just as I wanted: running very easy & comfortable 10 minute miles. Mile 5, done. Mile 8, done. Mile 10 - I started to feel like I couldn't continue. I felt cramps coming on in my legs. I felt nausea, dizziness and was beginning to wonder if I was going to collapse and end up in the medical tent or hospital. This feeling continued from mile 10 to 14. By this point, I was walking and could not run. As I spent more and more time walking, the blisters began to develop on the bottom of my feet and just as I was starting to feel a bit better around mile 15, I now had significant pain in my feet. I was able to continue on thru miles 16-18. At mile 18, I just didn't know I could continue. I couldn't run anymore and if I were to walk the final 8 miles, it would take approximately 2 more hours. I had already been on the course for 12 and a half hours. Could I walk for 2 more hours? I don't remember every moment of those last 2 hours but I can tell you that the following thoughts kept pushing me and kept me motivated:
1. My family - I spent an entire year dedicating time to this and they supported me. I had to finish.
2. Chase - I was never lucky enough to meet him but I know he was a winner. I knew his spirit was with me and I couldn't let him down. I had to finish.
3. My team - I travel to Ironman with approximately 10 other athletes. They all finished and I didn't want to let the team down by being the only one not to finish. I had to finish.
4. All of our donors. I raised $10,000 in the final 10 days alone leading up to the Ironman for Race4Chase and there were dozens of donors who supported my Ironman4Chase. How could I let them down? To date, my friends, family & colleagues put me over $45k total raised for Race4Chase. I had to finish.
Ironman allows you to pack a "special needs" bag that you receive at mile 13 of the run. I had a Race4Chase t shirt in my bag. I carried the t shirt from mile 13-22. At mile 22, I found myself laying on someone's lawn unsure if I could go on. I put on my Race4Chase t shirt, willed myself to get up and walked 4.2 more miles. I crossed the finish line at 8:30pm... 14 hours after I started my journey.
What I learned most about becoming an Ironman is that while I was alone physically out on that course for 14+ hours, I could not have pushed thru and finished if my family, friends, donors, Chase and God weren't there to talk to me and allow me to talk to them. Without a doubt, the most challenging day of my life... and aside from the day I got married and the day my son was born, it was my most proud.
Brian- You are an inspiration to all of us! Well done and well said!
2016 Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team
CMAK awarded TWO Non Qualifying Bibs-
Submit your name for consideration
Deadline November 30th-
Access the application here:
Race4Chase Boston Marathon Application
We have received many excellent candidates who would like to be considered for the non qualifying charity bibs under the John Hancock Non Profit Program. We will choose the candidates at the end of this month, so if you have been on the fence, now is the time to submit your application.
For those that would like to join in the festivities for the Boston Marathon weekend, but are not quite there to commit to run the marathon, CMAK will be trying to organize a Race4Chase team to participate in the Boston Marathon Midnite Cycle, the night before the Marathon. More to come on this activity as we get closer to the event.
The Windy City followed by Brotherly Love Proves No Match for Erin's Quest
Erin Flanagan marked the 10th and 11th State off her map as she completed the Chicago Bank of America Marathon in mid October in a time of 3:21:05, only seconds off her personal best set at Boston in April.
She has come back a little over one month later to conquer the Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon in a time of 3:36:03. Congrats on the successful Fall marathon season and we await news concerning our next baton holder!!
Fischang Cicchetti Provides Fun Competition for the Race4Chase Squad
The Race4Chase team took to the streets of Waterbury at the Fischang Cicchetti 5k/5 miler. The race was highlighted by the Age Group victory of Brian Pogue in the 5k race. His time of 22:41 was good enough for the awards stand and 14th place overall. Brian travelled to the race from Missouri for the third year in a row. We admire his dedication and his excellent performance.
Baton # 5 - (BLUE)
After accepting the baton from Donna Decker, Liz Prince, a first grade teacher at Fayetteville Academy in NC, ran in the Halloween Remembrance Run at her school. Some thought from Liz on this race: "I am so excited and honored to be a part of the Race4 Chase foundation. The race is a special one (for me) because one of our students, Jessie Keener, organized it several years ago when one of her friends died suddenly. We run on the campus (of the school). This year, Jessie is honoring another student who died several years ago when she was in 5th
grade. Because Chase was in first grade when he died, I had invited my first graders and their families to join me in the race on Sunday. "
On race day, the soggy weather did not deter the enthusiasm of the students at Fayetteville Academy. Liz has yet to decide to whom she will pass the baton but is contemplating taking it with her to run the Disney Half Marathon in January. We wish her the best of luck in her training and look forward to her news on the baton.
Baton # 10- (GREEN)
Frances Hoare has passed the baton to Ireland's famous endurance athlete, Gerry Duffy, who won the Deca Enduroman Challenge (10 Ironman distance races in 10 days) in 2011 and completed 32 marathons in 32 days in 2010. He is an inspirational speaker and Ireland Best Seller author of "Tick, Tock, Ten" and "He Who Dares, Runs" describing these events and how he faced his fears and burst through comfort zones; from weight loss to giving up smoking as well as overcoming a pathological fear of public speaking.
is considering which upcoming contest would be the best for him to carry the baton. We will relay news of what he decides in our next newsletter.
A big thanks to RELAYBATONS.com for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program.