From the Kowlaski Family
"A Special Weekend at Winthrop University"
In late December 2012 , we were gathered together in Sandy Hook with close friends discussing our vision of the foundation to honor our son Chase Kowalski. We took the time to watch the video of Coach Kelsey's Ohio St press conference ... Wow, we admired and connected with his courage and passion asking all of us to do our part to step up to be agents of change as leaders and parents. Stepping up and doing our part for us meant launching our CMAK foundation to help heal and strengthen children, families and communities ... All inspired by the athletic and beautiful spirit of our son Chase.
Through our loss and despair, we made a conscious choice to move forward as a family to focus on the positive. This past year has been a journey of hope and healing fueled in many ways by the loving support we have received from all the new friends that we have met through the works of our CMAK
Foundation. We have been encouraged and inspired by so many runners and triathletes who have performed amazing tributes as part of our Race4Chase team including Running 1000 miles for Chase, dedicating their triathlon seasons, running their first triathlon or marathon .. We have been equally
touched by many others who have "gotten up from the couch" to make physical fitness a part of their life for the first time ... Inspired by the stories of our son Chase. Visiting Winthrop today is one more amazing step in our journey. We are so thankful for the opportunity to meet Pat Kelsey ... He is an amazing and motivating man. We thank him for his gracious welcome and support.
Thank you to the Winthrop community for the overwhelming welcome! Through our visit, we are thrilled to spend time together with Pat Kelsey strengthening our friendship. We hope to continue working together to spread our mission of stepping up to help children, families and communities. While we are not certain where our friendship and journey will lead us, we share a common belief that we will change our world 1 person at a time.... Who knows, maybe we will hold a Race4Chase 5K race here in the future to raise funds for our CMAK programs benefiting children and families here in the local Winthrop and Rock Hill community.
With Peace and Love,
Steven, Rebecca, & Brittany Kowalski
Winthrop Weekend Media Coverage
Generation UCAN & CMAK Create Partnership
We are pleased to announce that CMAK and Generation UCAN have agreed to a partnership to support the development for the foundation's programs while providing the Race4Chase community with unique access to their endurance nutrition and hydration products. CMAK and Generation UCAN both have a commitment to the health and wellness of our communities while making a difference through supporting athletic pursuits. Generation UCAN's endurance product, Super Starch, was developed to treat a rare children's disease and is a now a proven asset to athletes as a source of long lasting energy. This healthy patented carbohydrate is also an ideal tool for everyday individuals seeking to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. The
product is being tested for the better management of sugar levels in diabetes.
UCAN Generation, based in Woodbridge, CT, has been motivated and committed to support the efforts of the foundation to grow its programs and honor Chase Kowalski and the other students and educators taken from us. Generation UCAN will support the Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon programs with nutrition instruction and hydration products during training and competition. It will also provide samples of its endurance products to the many Race4Chase athletes training for endurance events and then offer these products to them at discounted prices. A percentage of the sales from this program will lead to a donation to the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation.
In celebration of this agreement, the Race4Chase team will join Generation UCAN in participating in the All-American Marathon (Full/Half/5k) on May 4th, 2014. Generation UCAN is the sponsor of the 5K at Fort Bragg and the nutrition sponsor of the marathon and half marathon. Erin Flanagan, who is on a quest to run a marathon in every State while honoring Chase, will lead the Race4Chase team competing that weekend. She will run with a Race4Chase baton to be passed on to an inspired athlete to pass forward to another athlete at another athletic event as an effort to keep Chase's spirit alive. We invite everyone interested in join the Race4Chase team at this great event staged by the US Army base at Fort Bragg.
CMAK Foundation New Website Launched
We are happy to advise that the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation has launched its new website at www.race4chase.com or can be accessed at the previous address www.chasekowalskifund.com. We invite everyone to visit the site where you can keep abreast of the CMAK’s latest developments, participate or volunteer for our events,sign up for our newsletter, read about inspiring efforts of our supporters and find other ways to get involved in pursuing the Foundations mission. We will also add shortly an online store for securing CMAK related items and special offers from our sponsors.
"Comedy Night at Panino's: A Great Success"
Steve & I would like to thank Gary Seri and the staff at Panino's for a fantastic comedy evening honoring Chase & supporting our CMAK Foundation. The comedians were hysterical & it was great to laugh uncontrollably! Thanks to all of our friends for coming out and supporting the CMAK foundation. The event raised over $500.00 to support our mission.
Fairfield County Giving Day
Another great big thank you to all of you that donated to the CMAK Sandy Hook Foundation during the Fairfield County Giving Day.
We raised over $2,700.00 which will go to support the foundation's programs and, with 70 donors, we finished in the top 15% of charities participating. We thank you for your perseverance which prevented many from accessing the online giving site. For those who were not able to make a connection, there will be other opportunities to support CMAK either at our website or at our many events. With your efforts, we will be able to continue to honor Chase by supporting healthy children, families and communities.
Crazy 8's Motorcycle Ride4Chase - Registration Opens
We are pleased to advise that the registration has opened for the 1st Annual Crazy 8’s Motorcycle Ride4Chase being held at Molto Bene restaurant in Ansonia, CT on May 4th, 2014. After a beautiful motorcycle ride through the Connecticut countryside, join us on the patio for fabulous food provided by Molto Bene and entertainment by THE BEST 80's cover band, MULLETT! We will have a 50/50 raffle and
LOTS of other raffle prizes!
You can access the online registration at the following address www.firstgiving.com/ChaseKowalskiFoundation/crazy-8s-ride4chase
or by visiting our website (www.race4chase.com
Race4Chase Kid's Tri Program Opens Application Process
The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon Program has opened the application process for those children 6-12 years of age who would like to participate in the 5 week training program starting June 26th and culminating with a short course triathlon on August 2nd, 2014. The program will be conducted at three sites (Waterbury, Danbury, Trumbull) by the YMCA in that region with 30 participants at each site.
Further information about the R4C Kid’s Triathlon Program and to apply, please contact the respective YMCAs.
Greater Waterbury YMCA http://www.waterburyymca.org/
Central Connecticut Coast YMCA: http://www.cccymca.org/locations/lakewood-trumbull/
Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut: http://www.regionalymca.org/
Links to listen to the Award-Winning “For the People” segment on R4C Kid’s Triathlon Program: http://www.star999.com/Episodes.aspx?PID=2760
5K Run for the Sandy Hook Families
The 5k Run for the Sandy Hook Families is currently fully booked including the exclusive spots provided to the Race4Chase team. We welcome all supporters who did not receive entry to come out to cheer on the Race4Chase team and other participants that morning. If you will be there, please make note on the event page on Facebook. For race day, please join the Race4Chase team after getting your packet pick up at the Chase tent by 7:30am where we will have a brief update on the programs and activities of the Foundation and assemble to the starting line. Additional information will be posted here as well as Facebook.
“Color Me Rad 5k Race Update”
The Race4Chase team has registered close to 50 participants in the Color Me Rad 5k Race in Hartford CT on April 26th, 2014. CMAK receives a 20% donation from the race organizers for all registrants on the Race4Chase team. There are still spots available in this popular race where participants are showered with exploding color bombs at various points in the race.
Fort Bragg, NC: Turn Tragedy into Triumph by joining Erin Flanagan
and the Race4Chase team at the All American Marathon!
Chase's story has inspired many athletes to honor Chase with their competitions including marathons and triathlons and raise money to support CMAK. CMAK has many compelling stories that have emanated from these competitions and many athletes dedicating their training miles to Chase including Marines4Chase, AirForce4Chase and CoastGuard4Chase teams. CMAK has seen many inactive people turn into road racers due to Chase's inspiration. CMAK organizes Race4Chase team participation in athletic events so our community can meet and compete together and is excited to put the All-American Marathon on its schedule. They are hoping that an Army4Chase team will form as part of the
Race4Chase team participating in the race.
Erin Flanagan, a student at the University of New Haven from Madison, CT, is one of those athletes that Chase has stuck a special cord. Erin is on a quest to run a marathon in every State and is dedicating all of these races in honor of Chase. Thus far, she has completed marathons in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Texas. The All-American Marathon will be her next event and with a special twist. Erin will bring with her a Race4Chase baton which she will give to an inspired athlete she meets at the All-American Marathon requesting the recipient to take up the baton and compete in a challenging athletic event honoring Chase and the other students and educators taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary. The recipient will be asked to pass the baton along to another inspired athlete in order to keep Chase spirit alive. “Like Chase, I too have a passion for running and competing. After my first marathon in 2012, I set a goal to run a marathon in every state. This one in Fort Bragg will be my fourth and I am so grateful to be able to combine my love for running and competing with honoring Chase’s memory. I am excited to follow this baton’s travels and give others a chance to celebrate Chase’s life and be a part of a growing group of people who become part of a team that “turns tragedy into triumph.” If you would like to be the recipient of the baton, you can email email@example.com
with your reasons that you are inspired to take up the baton. These messages will be shared with Erin and the Kowalski family for their consideration.
You can support CMAK by joining the Race4Chase team that will compete at the All-American Marathon. Race4Chasers will be competing in all three events (marathon/half marathon/5k) and hopes for a big turnout. Any funds raised by the team will help support CMAK’s programs including the Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program and Chase’s Place, a family wellness center.
Reminder: Sign up to Race or Volunteer at the Rev-3 Quassy Olympic Triathlon
Race4Chase continues to look for racers and volunteer for this event on May 31st, 2014 at Quassy Park in Middlebury, CT. Currently, we have four athletes competing. We have had some interest in forming relay teams for this swim/bike/run competition. CMAK is requesting volunteers to work for 3 to 4 hours on race day to operate the transition area and water stops etc. All Race4Chase volunteers will earn a donation from the race organizers to CMAK. Please visit our website
for more information and to sign up to volunteer.
Race4Chase Baton Update
Baton #1- (Bethel High School Track)
The last news was that the baton remains with Shawn Delaney and we await his report on
Baton #2- (Trumbull Lakewood YMCA)
We are sad to report that this baton has not surfaced after initially being placed at the YMCA facility at Lakewood Camp in Monroe by Kevin Bresnahan during his 1000 mile culminating run. If anyone has any information concerning its whereabouts, please advise CMAK.
- (Remains with Kowalski family on fireplace mantel)
In celebration of the weekend visit to Winthrop University, Kevin Grimes competed in the “Howl at the Sun” 5k race in Fort Mill, SC supporting the education program at Banks Trail Middle School. Kevin passed R4C baton #4 to Lee Whitaker, an ultra marathoner with three boys (11, 9 and 6 yrs) from Fort Mill. Lee finished the “Graveyard 100” last week at the Outer Banks in NC and will pass the baton along at the Copper River Bridge Run, Charleston, SC, April 5th.
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 this summer.
Race4Chase and the Boston Marathon
One year removed from the tragic bombings at this iconic sporting event, we remember those taken from us and injured. We also remain grateful that Amanda Jacob, running in Chase’s honor that day, was kept of harm’s way. This year, we will have John Williams from West Hartford, Ct running in Chase’s honor. We wish him well in his training leading up to next month’s race. We thank him for his fundraising effort so far raising over $1,375 to support CMAK programs. Let us know if any other of the Race4Chase community is running this year by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Below, we leave all with a poem of Race4Chaser, Valerie Walsh, written the day following the 2013 Boston Marathon:
“I Run For Not From”
I run for my health, my freedom and promise,
I run for hope and for the light shone upon us.
I run for the simple feeling it gives me inside,
to trample the dust and let my heart be my guide.
I run for the challenge, to see what I am made of.
I run for my family, my friendships, to show love.
I run through pain, against pain, and sometimes because of it,
I run to beat Cancer, for control or lack of it.
I run for vanity, for myself and for stillness,
I run to meet things head on and sometimes for avoidance.
I run for Charity, for gratitude and celebration,
I run to stay focused, to divert from temptation.
I run to create memories, moments and laughter,
I run because it gives me so much of what I am after.
I run to inspire to set a good example to my children,
I run to show your greatest strength comes from within.
I run for lots of reasons and some I simply can’t explain,
I run because I can and it will NEVER be in vain.
By: Valerie Walsh
Race4Chase takes on the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay
Led by team captain, Christina Hansen, Race4Chase will have a team competing in the Ragnar Relay- Cape Cod on May 9th-10th from Hull to Provincetown, MA. This is a 12 person continuous relay which stretches over 200 miles and over 24 hours. Each participant runs three legs of the course and a total of about 18 miles each. We wish this team great success.
Race4Chase Featured Athlete
Last week Brian Pogue, of St. Charles, Missouri, wrote; "Today I threw on a Race4Chase shirt and bracelet early this morning and raced a 7K in Cottleville Missouri. The weather was magnificent and I had one of my best min/mile paces. No complaints about today." That sums up an attitude of determination that Brian works daily on reinforcing in his life. But, that was not always how he saw things. In the year before, Brian had trained to run in his first Iron Man Triathlon. He trained before and after work to complete his first two Iron Man's and was in a position to complete the third in the end of the year, 2012. Somewhere in the fall, between his 2nd and 3rd Iron Man, Brain began to lose interest in running and slowly was becoming "a little lazy." Realizing that at the age of 48, and at 5'9", and tipping the scales at 200 pounds, he had become a "big ole fat boy" (in his own words) and needed to do something drastic to turn things around. Yet, he still lacked motivation and as he put it was "gaining, gaining, gaining...and putting on the pounds."
Then, on December 14, 2012, the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut happened. Chase was only 7 years old when he lost his life with 19 other classmates and 6 teachers. Living a thousand miles away, Brian felt he needed to do something. To help in some way. After reading more about Chase, and Chase's desire to participate in a triathlon in his short little life, Brian realized that there were "no more excuses" and he set out to get in shape and actually run in the triathlon that he had signed up to run in. With new determination and now clearly focused on getting in shape, Brian got serious and hired Jennifer Meyer, a level 2 USAT Triathlon Coach, to start training. Always keeping Chase in his fore thoughts and vision, Brian discovered Race4Chase and set out to create his own fund raiser with a final goal to give all the proceeds to the Kowalski family.
Not only has Brian become more fit and conquered a few more 5K races, he took off work recently to run in a Race4Chase 5K and then visit Chase's playground in Normandy Beach, NJ. It was on the last part of this journey, while running a half marathon in Atlanta, GA that it was now getting a little rough, but in the end, Brian felt Chase cheering him on.
Brian writes "I just want to say that when it comes to Sandy Hook, I focus on that determined little boy who loved baseball, running and wanted to do a race where he could swim, ride his bike, and run all in the same race! Chase was and is my wake up call. My hero who made me realize that I needed to get serious about what I was doing in the sport of triathlon. I also realize there are 25 other victims and I think of them often. When the reality of Sandy Hook sunk in, I tried to learn something about each victim. It was a painful experience but it made me realize all the diverse talent that has been taken from this world. Where I identify with Chase, my hopes are that each person can at least identify with one victim and take action to show awareness and support. We can never forget these kids and teachers."
Thank you Brian Pogue. You make our world a better place and all of us at CMAK applaud you.