It is hard to believe the end of summer is almost here. As labor day approaches and the kids go back to school, I find myself reflecting on all that we have accomplished this summer to honor Chase and how we are still pushing forward. We have and will continue to have our bumps in the road but we always seem to figure it out. With the help of so many people, we have and we will continue to change the lives of many individuals . The pride we all share when we are doing something to fulfill this legacy of Chase, well, it always brings tears to my eyes. Sharing the love he has is the easy part. Putting all of these events together is truly a labor of love.
Thinking back over this second summer without Chase, it is his spirit at the Race4Chase Kids' triathlon Program "Finale" that will always be the highlight for me. Through many tears that 2nd day of August showed everyone that was in attendance how amazing pure love is. In a competition, a triathlon no less, not being a team sport, we witnessed the essence of Chase; sportsmanship, compassion, teamwork and the camaraderie of children and families coming together to show how much one little boy has made a difference in their lives. That day will always be in our hearts as we continue this journey bringing more triathlon training programs to more communities across the country.
Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program "FINALE" Crowns New Triathletes !!
After six weeks of training, the three Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Programs converged on Camp Mataucha in Watertown, CT to contest a USAT-sanction triathlon inspired by Chase Kowalski. There were some chilly bodies and anxious looks from athletes and parents alike as the participants made their way to the starting area on the beach. When the first horn sounded, the excitement began as the first group slashed through the water. The athletes emerged from the beach and dashed to the first transition among shouts of encouragement and instruction from coaches and family.
In transition, they rushed to prepare for the bike portion, donning their helmets and other gear and ushering their bikes to the mounting area. The down and back bike course was challenging for some to navigate but even those that were taught how to ride in the program completed the leg.
The cross country run course brought athletes through a double loop along the trails of Camp Mataucha. Participants were greeted by cheers from an enthusiastic crowd as they finished their first loop and, after completing the second loop, sprinted home giving it their last ounce of energy through the finish line.
Upon finishing, they received from the Kowalski family their Race4Chase dog tag signifying their accomplishment. From the first to the ultimate finisher, these triathletes exhibited a strong determination to see the race to the end. The smiles on the faces of the exhausted athletes and the obvious expressions pride and love from their families, coaches and supporters were the highlight of the day.
As Rebecca Kowalski expressed during the awards ceremony, Chase was with these athletes throughout the contest and he was smiling as well for all they accomplished.
NOTE: With the success of the Race4Chase 2014 Kids Triathlon Program, CMAK intends to expand the program within and outside of Connecticut. CMAK hopes to accommodate between 3 and 6 additional site in 2015. The application process for new sites with be posted on the CMAK website by the end of September with the evaluation and selection taking place prior to the end of this year. More details will be available in our September newsletter.
At the awards ceremony, the top three athletes in each age group received Triathlon watches care of TIMEX Group. The coaches of each program sites presented awards to those athletes that had shown the greatest sportsmanship and support to their fellow athletes during the training program.
The coaches also expressed their gratitude to the athletes for making the program a special time for them. It was great to see their compassion and dedication to their athletes and team.
We hope that the first graduates of the Race4Chase Triathlon Program will continue to pursue the sport of triathloning and, more importantly, take the skills they have learned from the program and achieving this success to every aspect of their lives going forward. We will be excited to hear the stories of these athletes as they continue to seek challenges in sports and other aspects of their lives. We hope Chase will inspire them along their journey. Everyone is invited back next year to watch the next crop of Race4Chase Triathletes compete in the "Finale"
CMAK Announces Grant for Preschool Education
The CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation is proud to announce that it will again support preschool education for families in need by making a grant of $20,000 to the Greater Waterbury YMCA preschool program starting in September 2014. CMAK reaffirms its commitment to support preschool education which played an important role in the development of Chase Kowalski as he worked to overcome a speech impediment. We hope that this grant will make a positive impact on these children and their families by easing the financial burden of providing a quality education.
Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament Scores a Hole-In-One
Sunshine, good spirits, and 60 golfers joined forces on Saturday, 08/16/2014 at Nippo Lake Golf Club in Barrington, NH for the Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament, which raised awareness and funding for CMAK. Special thanks to the ownership and management of Nippo – especially Tina Maiorino and Chris Mowers, who ensured that the day was an overwhelming success. The assistance of several dedicated volunteers was also invaluable…..Thank you Meg Rotondo, Jeremy Rhodes, Vicky Mowers, and Jim & Deb Pallock. Rebecca, Steve, Brittany, and Erin Kowalski also joined the fun and ran the putting contest.
Additional thanks to all donors and players, especially the Harte Auto Group for sponsoring the par 3 challenge, and the following hole sponsors: Janet and Richard Pirhala; Chuck and Donna LaFreniere; Daryl Landy; The Westport Day School; McMellon Brothers of Stratford, CT; Jim Hammar and Joanne Reid; and Mark Caron.
Thank you from Rebecca:
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect place or day than August 16th at Lake Nippo Golf course. The weather was fantastic and we hosted almost 60 golfers.
An amazing event put together by our high school friend, Sharon Pirhala. Sharon shared with us her favorite place in the world and, after coming to The Nipp as it is referred to by the locals, I totally agree. Along with Sharon we need to say a special thank you to, the owners of Lake Nippo, John and Tina Maiorino, for their hospitality before, during and after the event. I would also like to thank friends from Connecticut making the trip to New Hampshire to support the foundation. Jim and Deb Pallock, you are amazing...this was the best week ever! Jim Ek, my first friend and neighbor on Bagburn Hill Rd in Monroe some 40 years ago, it was a blast reconnecting with you and meeting your friends
"Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt only One Week Away!
The final preparation are being made for the event and the activities at each of the stations are being kept under lock and key. You won't want to miss participating in this very special family event. On Saturday, September 6th CMAK will be hosting the first annual Love the Chase Family Scavenger Hunt. The event will kick off at 8:30 at Wolfe Park In Monroe.
Online: REGISTER NOW
Offline: Registration Form
The cost is $50 for a team of four and each additional team member is $10 (your team size is only limited by how many seatbelts you have in your car!). Your entrance fee also includes a welcome breakfast with bagels, donuts, coffee and juice, snacks for the road, and a cookout at the end of the Scavenger Hunt. When you arrive at Wolfe Park, you will be given your first clue and sent on your way for an amazing day of fun challenges around Fairfield County. The challenges are geared towards children 5 years and older. When you register, you will be sent rules and guidelines to make your day safe and enjoyable. More information about this fabulous event will be updated on the Love the Chase Family Scavenger Hunt Facebook page.
Spread the word and come join us for a GREAT day! There are still some slots for additional teams available.
All proceeds will benefit the CMAK Foundation.
The Newtown Pumpkin Festival Returns!
The 2nd Annual Newtown Pumpkin Festival will take place on October 11th starting at 3pm. CMAK will again have its fun filled games tent including our exclusive magician to go along with the Festivals pumpkin contest and celebration of Halloween! Let's come together as a Race4Chase community to remember Chase's favorite day, his birthday- Halloween!
There will be opportunities to volunteer at the CMAK tent and the Festival as a whole. More details will follow in our next newsletter and on our website.
Race4Chase and Guaranteed Boston Marathon Entries:
CMAK is applying for guaranteed Boston Marathon entries through the Marathon Non-Profit Program sponsored by John Hancock. In order to determine the number of bibs that the Race4Chase team seeks to secure for the Boston Marathon on April 20th, 2015, please express your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org or through CMAK Facebook page by August 30th, 2015. Each bib comes with the requirement for minimum $5,000 fundraising for the charity. Application for bibs are due latest August 31, 2014 to race organizers and charities will be notified of the success of their application within September.
Race4Chaser Cameron O'Bar shines at USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship : Qualifying for World Triathlon Championship
Cameron O'Bar entered the National Age Group Championships in Milwaukee, WI as one of the youngest competitors in the difficult 15 to 19 year old age group which includes some college aged athletes. Unphased by this fact, Cameron used strong swim and bike legs plus efficient transitions to finish 28th place. This effort topped off his exceptional triathlon season that he dedicated to Chase Kowalski's memory and qualifiied him for the World Age Group Championships in Chicago in 2015. He was the first 15 year old athlete to finish in the race. We are proud that he chose Chase to inspire him on his journey.
Cameron is pictured sporting his Race4Chase tri uniform powering ahead of a pack during the run leg of the race and enjoying a well-deserved post race smile.
Calling All Race4Chase Athletes: TIMEX 5k Run/Walk is upon us!
The TIMEX Group of Middlebury CT has extended a special invitation to the Race4Chase community to participate in their annual employee, friends and family 5k. The TIMEX Group, in partnership with CMAK, has been very supportive of the Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program including providing awards for the recent Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon and swim caps for the race and program through their TIMEX Triathlon Team supplier, Blue Seventy.
In continuing their support, CMAK has been chosen by TIMEX to be the designated charity for the 3rd Annual TIMEX 5k Run/Walk. The TIMEX 5k Run/Walk is a race organized by TIMEX for its employees, their families and freinds, free of charge. Although there is not a registration fee, participants are encouraged to donate to CMAK through a special link during the registration process. So please join us for this opportunity to gather as a team with one of our strongest partners.
There will be pizza, raffles and other prizes for all participants after the race!
REGISTRATION and Event Details: TIMEX 5k Run/Walk
In a show of appreciation, CMAK would like to provide from the Race4Chase community up to 10 volunteers to help TIMEX stage the event. If you are willing to volunteer on race day, please sign up HERE.
Other Race4Chase Notes:
We wish Brian Pogue the best of luck in his training for his upcoming Ironman competition on September 28th in Chattanooga, TN. Brian set a personal best time in the 70.3 distance at Kansas just two weeks after competing in the Quassy Olympic distance with his fellow Race4Chase teammates.
And we wish the same luck to Christy Jones, holder of Race4Chase Baton #5, as she trains for the Arizona IM in November.
We ask all Race4Chase athletes to give advanced warning of competitions they are entering so that CMAK can try to alert any other Race4chasers competing at the same venue. Also forward pictures of competitions to email@example.com so they can be included in newsletters and website galleries. Any stories surrounding these activities would be greatly appreciated.
Race4Chase Baton Update
Baton #1- (Bethel High School Track)
Nina Coulson received the baton from fellow Air Force servicemen, Shawn Delaney, and has decided to run the runDisney Half Marathon at Disneyland in California. This will be the baton's second Disney adventure after completing the Disney Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run with Alexis Garrity in Orlando last October.
Baton #2- (Trumbull Lakewood YMCA)
Still A.W.O.L. If anyone has any information concerning its whereabouts, please advise CMAK.
Baton #3- (Remains with Kowalski family on fire place mantel)
Ultramarathoner, Lee Whitaker of Fort Mill SC, completed the Cremator 50 in Beaufort SC on July 9th and has now passed the baton to Dyan Coker would will be running races this Fall in Chase's honor.
Christy Jones (right) has decided to take on the Arizona Ironman on November 16th, 2014 in Tempe Arizona at which point she will pass the baton on to a worthy athlete.
Sarah Dombrowski and her Cape Cod relay team continue to hold the baton. Awaiting further updates.
Shawn Flanagan completed her first half marathon at the Calgary Marathon (Full/Half) on June 1st. She was thrilled to find an exceptional candidate to take up the baton (Pictured below) and will have more news on where she plans to compete this Fall.
Baton #8 -
Henry Terifay was awarded the "Chasing Inspiration" award at the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon on July 13th, 2014. He will be competing in various athletic events throughout the year before returning the baton when competing at the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon next year.
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.