CMAK Foundation Newsletter
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    September 2015            

from Rebecca

RACE4CHASE goes far beyond the swim, bike, run element of the program. It's the "wonderful" that isn't taught. It's what every child is born with but has to be nurtured. Nurtured by others in a way that is brought out naturally through the heart. Sometimes its beyond what a parent can teach and what a child wants to learn from their parent. They need to figure it out on their own, a right of passage.  I have read some of the most beautiful stories since the Race4Chase FINALE, and heard some amazing R4C experiences. This is what makes me stay so inspired to make sure this program continues.

I have come to realize triathletes and runner families  are much like firefighter families. They bring you in, teach you all kinds of great things and make you a better person and part of their family. People say without family you have nothing and I agree, but, to me, family doesn't mean there has to be a bloodline. Family to me is born through a love line. A love line starts through a friendship that grows naturally as you get to know a person. It is the time, energy and support shown, the unconditional love and respect you  have for one another that creates a lasting bond. A family that will cry with you in your heart ache yet will rejoice in the achievements. A love line has no negativity, only positive, good and empowering energy.
It's humbling knowing that Chase is partly responsible for the many love lines and life lessons these children and families are learning through Race4Chase tri program. We miss him everyday, think about him always.  In our hearts, we know that by sharing who he was and what he liked to do, he will continue to grow and change the world as he should have.
I'm forever grateful to my latest love line, my friends of old and friends of new. All very positive women who all helped each other finish a common goal of becoming first time triathletes or adding another victory of completing yet another triathlon. I can't explain how thankful that I am to have had the guidance of so many coaches , Jim, Kevin, Betsy, Susanne & Heidi to help me achieve my goal.  To my friends, Amy, Sue, Marybeth, Carrie, Meri, Dana & Katie and the rest of the Tri4chase Chicks, that was a crazy adventure and I look forward to Iron girl training with you all for 2016.

Mostly I'd like to thank my Lil superman for inspiring so many people to make changes in their lives that inspired me to make changes in mine.
It is with great pride I can say I  am a triathlete just like my son!
"Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt:
A Contest for the Ages

The 2nd Annual "Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt arrived with much fanfare and excitement.  The CMAK Scavenger Hunt Team set the bar high last year and returning teams clamoured for another day of exciting challenges and loads of fun.  They did not disappoint!

Once again the weather cooperated.  It was a fantastic way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning, racing around the towns of Shelton, Bridgeport and Stratford. Teams gathered for the start in front of Harbor Yards, Bluefish stadium Teams got their instructions cool Love the Chase backpacks filled with all kinds of accessories for the hunt and a neck wallet containing the time crunching passport.

A time limited event where you go from place to place getting clues and doing a task. This years tasks were fabulous.

Darting from Pumpkin Brooke Farm to build a scarecrow, and bring him along for the journey to Shelton sports center to bowl 10 frames or 88 points which ever came first.
Always including our CMAK sponsors in the fun we darted off to "X marks the spot at the end of TIME for these watches in Shelton." We built an hour glass with the sands of time and had to recite 3 tongue twisters before time ran out. There were plenty of laughs at this stop for sure, Sally Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore, and Peter Piper.

Off to find a dealer with 2 first names was the next clue to find cars in a car.

What does wiffle ball and creamery have in common? actually nothing but a wiffle ball fits perfectly in  a waffle cone  and that was one of the tasks, catch a wiffleball with a waffle cone 8 times.  The bonus was a taste treat of an ice cream flavor to guess a bonus question. Lets just say it wasn't rainbow vanilla. It didn't taste like banana to me.

We pushed a duck with a fire hose, did 8 laps around a go-kart track, we ran around grasslands of the zoo and ate a fire ant with an anteater.

Off to the YMCA running through the halls up to the basketball court where we had to do silly basketball drills and a layup for the ladies of the Mohegan sun women's basketball team.

Best of all in the true spirit of Chase we headed to the VFW post to watch a flag being properly folded by 2 veterans and we wrote a letter to a veteran added in a star from retired flags as a memento placed in a card  that Chase did the artwork for.

Teams returned to harbor Yard for the final task of jumping on a hippity hop horse to center field and hitting a baseball towards the outfield wall.

The laughter was contagious, the family spirit was awesome, teams dressed up with custom t-shirts in their team colors and had huge smiles when they all returned for a brown bag lunch and awaited the results for the top 3 finishers. Camaraderie was evident as the teams chatted about their adventures of the day.

As the winners were crowned the consensus was the same from all of the teams, We can't wait to do this again next year!!

2nd Annual CMAK Memorial Golf Tournament Draw Supporters from Near and Wide

Once again, those that returned to the Nippo Golf Club for the 2nd Annual Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament were treated to a fun game of scramble under glorious skies.  The picturesque venue was the perfect setting to satisfy the serious and not so serious golfers.   Support from the local community combined with a large contingent traveling up from Connecticut made for a full course.  CMAK would like to thank Sharon Pirhala with her closest assistants, Anne Hogshead, Denise Adams and Lisa Strong for organizing the Tournament again including the wonderful meal, large line up of raffle prizes and fun contests throughout the course.  They would not have been able to stage this event without the many other volunteers that contributed that day including Vicky Mowers, Tina Maiorino and Chris Mowers, plus the tireless efforts of Pallock's Army who were everywhere on the course, club house and parking lots making sure everything ran smoothly.   In addition, we would again like to thank our sponsors who provided the prizes and other awards for the event.

B2B Challenge FINALE

at Great Hollow Lake
on Halloween

The CMAK October calendar will miss the Newtown Pumpkin Festival this year as it will not be held.  It was always a wonderful event with pumpkins, games and Halloween fun at the CMAK area as well as a special to remember Chase and his Halloween birthday.   CMAK has decided to add some of this fun to the Birthday 2 Birthday Challenge FINALE being held at Great Hollow Lake in Wolfe Park, Monroe, CT.  In addition to the race, we will have a games and crafts area for kids.  We encourage kids and adults to dress in their Halloween costumes to add to the atmosphere.

The B2B FINALE, which is open free of charge to anyone that can provide proof of their completion of at least nine athletic contests since Chase's 9th birthday, will be a non timed fun run with a Halloween theme.  The race will admit a limited number of additional runners (30/40) for an entry fee of $20.00 on a first come, first serve basis on the day of the race.

We thank so many of the volunteers from the Newtown Pumpkin Festival who have readily agreed to help at the B2B Finale.  We will need additional volunteers to play a part on race day, so if you are interested, please sign up at the following link. VOLUNTEERS

CMAK accepting 2016 Race4Chase Youth Triathlon Program Applications

The Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Foundation is accepting Letters of Intent for the 2016 Race4Chase Youth Triathlon Program.  All potential sites interested in hosting a Race4Chase Kids Tri Program should submit applications prior to the deadline.

Letter of Intent will be due by November 15, 2015.
Acceptance or denial letters will be sent out mid December. Award letters will be sent out December 31, 2015.  Interested parties can access the application instructions as the following link:

2016 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program Application


There is still time to participate in the DISNEY WORLD ticket raffle. We will be raffling off 4 Walt Disney World Hopper Passes. These passes, valued at $620.00, are valid during normal operating hours and 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. These passes expire on August 1, 2017. The raffle tickets will be available for $20.00 each at any of our events. The winner will be announced at the Birthday to Birthday Challenge FINALE at Great Hollow Lake in Monroe CT on October 31st at approximately 10:30am..

If you can not attend any of these events and are interested in a ticket, please email us at with DISNEY in the subject line!

Thanks for your support and GOOD LUCK!!!!
Matching Programs:  A Great Way to Support CMAK through Corporate Employment

For those of you that employed by corporations that have charity matching programs, you can investigate whether your corporation would add CMAK to its list of approved matching charities.  CMAK has been recently approved by General Electric who has joined Ameriprise, Mass Mutual, Home Depot and United Illuminating in approving CMAK on their matching list.


Support CMAK through 

You can support CMAK through all your purchases on  

Here is easy link for direct access:  AmazonSmile

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Race4Chase News

Tri Chicks 4 Chase Team Unveiled 
at  Hartford Marathon Women's Triathlon

Rebecca completes her 1st triathlon!!

The TriChicks4Chase Team made its debut at the Hartford Marathon Women's Triathlon. A team of seven enthusiastic women completed the Hartford Marathon Foundation Women's Sprint Triathlon in Farmington CT, many completing their first triathlon including Rebecca Kowalski.  Please see the following link to read the pre race coverage on the team by the Hartford Courrant: TRICHICKS

Below we share the reflections of TriChick4Chase teammates Carrie Friend and Rebecca.


Reflections on an awe-inspiring day
from Carrie Friend, TriChick Extraordinaire

I started my triathlon journey at the HMF’s Women’s Triathlon in 2010 with two women (Pamela Strunk-Nicotera Joy and Dee Hodson) and found two other friends on race day (Kathleen Bannan Didio, Katie Blake). In the years since then, so many women have experienced this triathlon...some just once, and others who keep coming back year after year. (I missed you this year Catherine Ford Alderman!)

But, this year was special. This year was about Tri4Chase and an incredible group of women. Over a year ago, a challenge was made and inspiration soon followed. Chase’s Mom, Rebecca Kowalski decided to do a triathlon just like her son, and just like all of the kids who have taken part in the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program. She was joined on the journey by a group of amazing women, many of whom were also first timers and facing a physical undertaking they hadn’t ever anticipated - Sue Connolly DeGeorge, Amy Shelin Primorac, Marybeth Cedergren McGuire, Emma,Katie Tanner Blake, Barbi Hart Lizak and others (we missed you Jennifer Heitzke)… They all took on the training…sometimes with smiles, sometimes with a lot of fear (hello open water swimming at Quassy!). I know there was a lot of questioning about how they had gotten themselves in this situation. There were lots of nerves in transition and on that beach on Sunday morning. Everyone faced those fears, got in that water and everyone finished, some happier than others, but every single one of them crossed that finish line. Rebecca trained the hardest, and she ROCKED it! I won’t soon forget watching her cross that finish line (or what she said to me on the bike - LOL). And, now all of those ladies can proudly say: I am a Triathlete!! I only hope that they are as proud of themselves as I am of them. Every single one of them is an inspiration.

The Tri4Chase women were doing the triathlon for themselves, yes, but they were also doing it to support an amazing woman and honor a beautiful angel…an angel who was showing his Mom he was there with her in so many ways yesterday (Rebecca’s number was 2692...26 angels and Chase’s triathlon number - 92). I was also privileged to ride on a custom made Sandy Hook Promise bike. While the circumstances that allowed that to happen were almost unbelievable, I truly felt the presence of those 26 angels along the way. All in all, it was an exciting, emotional, exceptional day that I won’t soon forget. 

One final thank you to my ever supportive husband Joshua Friend and our kids, who Josh drags out of bed each year before sunrise, so they can all get to the beach in time to watch me race. It wouldn’t be the same without them there.

Hopefully, even more women will be inspired by the achievements of this incredible group of triathletes. I counted over 60 women that I am connected with in some way who have done this Women's triathlon at some point in the last 5 years.

How amazing is that?

Reflections from Rebecca

Time has a way of just skating by if you let it. Changes come and go, good things and bad things happen and  time is the only consistent thing you can count on. This past year I have made some huge changes in my life. Starting in July of 2014 where I was challenged to compete in a triathlon that coming September. I knew I wasn't in any kind of shape to do it so I declined but I took the challenge for the following year. From August of 2014 to August of 2015 I started my physical fitness journey. Looking back I should have kept a diary, but as usual I am to busy to sit and make a journal happen. I started with my walking added in kickboxing then running. I had my personal best running time at the Sandy hook run for families at 37 minutes and it was snowing and I was over-dressed. Come late spring, I took a masters swim class and for 5 weeks tweaked my childhood swimming skills. Stephen bought me a road bike for my birthday that I started to ride and fell in love with cycling. All of the elements of my triathlon were coming together. My first open water swim was difficult to say the least with a panic attack to boot. The second swim was much better and as time when on I became very successful in my open water swims. I even completed 1.2 mile swim on an early Tuesday morning.

The weekend of the Triathlon was a whirl win. We raced up to Farmington to get my race packet, tossed it on the hotel bed raced into the shower and off  to Mohegan Sun for the women of inspiration event. I had the pleasure of meeting 2 of the 3 women being honored. We watched the game played a quick roulette game and then back to Farmington for a good night's rest. 
The alarm was set for 5:00 and I jumped out of bed. got my tri gear on and pulled open my packed. As I looked at the bag the timing chip was in I was blown away as soon as I saw it. My race number for my first triathlon was #2692 I've said it many times I'm a numbers girl and this was  the best number I could have ever gotten,even better than #8888. I knew in that instant that I had 26 Angles with me at my first triathlon lead by my biggest triathlete cheerleader #92 (#92 was chase's first and only triathlon bib #)

I turned to Stephen and he confirmed what I knew and showed me the picture of chase on his bike at his triathlon wearing #92. I knew the day was mine, I would finish what I started and with a smile on my face, proud of what he accomplished in 2012  and what I was about to do to honor his spirit only 3 years later. As I showed my friends one by one my bib they all couldn't believe it but they knew it was the power of Love, the power of Chase. My friend Betsy came with me to get numbered and the lady only put the three numbers 692 so we asked if we could add a small #2 because I had to have everyone with me.

We lined up for the swim and as the waves started I was a little nervous. I stayed back and picked my line and then started to swim.  I was cruising in that water, got to the first turn and had made it to the group ahead of me. I remember rooting on one of my teammates giving her a splashy water five and kept going. I turned the next corner and kept pushing. I came to the end of the swim and started to head to transition. I got to my bike, dried off and ready to roll, ran out of transition and mounted my bike and away I went.  I had a tough time clipping in at first but once it caught I was off. I was passing people "on your left" was rolling out of my mouth like a waterfall. I was on fire this  was my favorite part of the tri. I remember passing another teammate who said she had an issue with the chain, I teased her saying her loss was my gain... game on. She passed me somewhere in transition or on the run.  I was changing gears powering through the up hills and screaming down the hills, this by far is life in the fast lane without a motor.

Back to transition and off to the run. This isn't my favorite part so I have to say I didn't rock it. I walked up the first hill got to a certain point and said okay I will run when I get to the arrow. As I said that a woman agreed with me, okay that's a good plan. We became running buddies. We had a nice manageable pace that we carried almost the entire time. We chatted about why were doing this triathlon and shared our stories, At one point I could hardly breath as it is very hard for me to tell Chase's story to a stranger, it always takes my breath away. I composed myself and we kept running. She told me what to expect as we neared the finish line and as we rounded the corner I said I need to finish alone. I ran my heart out to that finish line. Proud of me, Proud of the number I was wearing, but mostly Proud to be the mom of an Amazing  little boy who finally got his mom inspired because of all  the people he has inspired. 


Tri Chicks 4 Chase Can't Get Enough

2nd triathlon in just two weeks!!

On the back of their impressive finishes in the Hartford Marathon Foundation Women's Triathlon, the TriChicks4Chase took their skills on another adventure, taking on the Long Island Sound and the Westport Kiwanis Minuteman Triathlon.  While all the TriChicks (Rebecca Kowalski, Amy Primorac,Dana Raymond Roth and Tara O'Connell) did exceedingly well despite the windy, choppy conditions, Suzanne Navas  impressed the field with her 3rd place finish in the Age Group competition.

Cameron O'Bar at World Championships

After one year in serious training since qualifying, Cameron O'Bar took on the best in the world in the 16 to 19 year old age group at the USAT World Championships this past week in Chicago for Team USA. Cameron must have felt good about his preparation after capturing first place in his age group and 11th place overall at his tune up Oyster Bay Sprint Triathlon on August 31st.  Cameron was interviewed by USA Triathlon Magazine prior to the event, highlighting his dedication of his triathlon racing to Chase Kowalski.  Please see the following link for full coverage- Cameron O'Bar.

Competing as one of the youngest in the race (16 years), Cameron crossed the finish line in 61 st place, about 8min30 behind winner, Timothy Winslow from Team USA.  At the same time, Cameron gained valuable experience in international competition which will help him as he continue to improve in his triathlon career.  CMAK will continue to follow Cameron's progress and watch him Race4Chase for the world to see!


Deena Ali Quest for an Ironman for Chase

Deena Ali is training to compete in the Ironman Louisville Kentucky on October 11th, 2015, dedicating the race in Chase's memory.  She shares some thoughts on her journey as the date approaches.

Family and friends, I am staying true to my New Year's resolution and expressing myself more and sharing my life's journey. I have been knee deep in my training and have discovered strength and will I never knew possible. Many wonder what makes someone do something as intense as an Ironman and, honestly, everyone is different. For me, I am facing fear and uncertainty head on and it is the catalyst that fuels me. Life for me is a blessing, but, with that blessing, comes obstacles and hurdles. As I gain strides during my training, I am able to transfer the positive energy to life's up and downs and tackle so much more. I am so grateful for my family and friends who are showering me with support. This attention would have caused anxiety to me in the past, but now I am realizing this is a beautiful gift and I welcome such a treasure. I have discovered accepting help doesn't mean I'm weak or not able to handle life. Actually, asking and allowing those who care for me to help is so much more powerful than being all alone. I am finally embracing the concept of interdependence and I feel so empowered.

I have also discovered my drive is reserved for actions I have passion and true commitment to. For me, every step of this Ironman is done for Chase and his family. When my alarm goes off at 4:30 and I'd rather stay snuggled under the covers instead of the gym, I think of Rebecca Kowalski and the hurt she feels and how she so beautifully channels these feelings to living life and honoring her son. When my legs are screaming at me to stop as I climb those hills on my bike, I picture how my pain is only temporary and I must push through as the Kowalski family pushes through everyday. When my lungs burn as I run, I think of the commitment I have made to Chase and I propel forward....I smile and picture the 26 beautiful angels who lost their lives lifting me up and carrying me!

Thank you to all who have spent their time to read my thoughts! I am so grateful for you!

Click here to Help Deena Reach Her Fundraising Goal!

2016 Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team

CMAK awarded TWO Non Qualifying Bibs-
Submit your name for consideration

The CMAK Foundation has been awarded by the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non Profit Program two non qualifying bibs again this year.  CMAK will be choosing two athletes to be part of the Race4Chase Boston Marathon team. As per the John Hancock program, these athletes will be required to raise a minimum of $5,000 for CMAK.  Amanda Jacob has again receive entry into the Boston Marathon and will serve as the team captain for the Race4Chase team.  If you plan to run the 2016 Boston Marathon as a qualifier and would like to run on the Race4Chase team or if you would like to be considered for one of the non qualifier bibs that CMAK may be awarded, please contact Kevin Grimes at

2015 Non Qualifier Bib recipients

TIMEX 5k Brings Community Together in Support of CMAK

For the second year in a row, TIMEX Group USA dedicated their employee and community 5k run/walk to CMAK and provided a fun evening for all involved.  We thank TIMEX for including CMAK in this event and for all their other generous support for CMAK and the Race4Chase.

Baton Update

A quiet month for the Race4Chase Batons as most holders prepare for major competitions later in the Fall.
Baton #5-
Shannon Bangs will be taking on another long distance cycle on October 3rd with the baton after the Tour de Moore Century Cycle did not turn out as planned due to illness. We wish her the best of luck with her training and eventual cycle.

Baton # 14-

Frances Hoare will be passing 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. More to come in our October newsletter.
A big thanks to for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program. 

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