CMAK Foundation Newsletter
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August 2016       

from Rebecca

BE the best ME you can BE! 

You may not know but I lost my mom on 8/16/16. Her passing has made me reflect on her life and what I want my life to look like when I get old. What do I want my last days to be like? That is why I decided that I want to be the best Me I can be. I want to have a strong body that will recover from any issue I may have. I want to watch my kids finish school, get married and have families of their own and I want to play with grand babies. I want to live and do things and make more memories and lessen the stuff that fills my home and my life. It is time to purge and clean things out and start fresh like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Carpe diem, "seize the day". I guess what I am trying to say is that we have such little time on earth, why have so much clutter with emotions and things? Why wait for January 1 to start over ? Every day is a new day and what better day than today to start. If we all become the best Me we can BE, then there is no worry in getting older because you have lived the best everyday.
Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program FINALES:


The CMAK Foundation is so proud of the 420 young athletes who completed the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program FINALE on Saturday, August 6th. They have become Race4Chase triathletes along with the 28 youths who completed the R4C FINALE held in Fort Mill SC on August 2nd. The success of the Race4Chase program is centered on the wonderful coaches and junior coaches that dedicate their summer to the benefit of these athletes, not only training them to accomplish the goal of being a triathlete but promoting greater self confidence, appreciation of a healthier lifestyle and determination that obstacles can be overcome by hard work and dedication. These coaches were the heros of the day, racing to all parts of the course to make sure they would be there to encourage their athletes when they needed a boost.

The atmosphere on that Saturday was electric. It was a joy to see the excitement that the athletes shared for each other as they cheered their teammates up Chase's Challenge and across the finish line. Chase's army of "Role Models" lined the course, offering words of encouragement and an occasional helpful hand. Families shared in their athlete's pre-race jitters to their post race celebration and every step of the way in between; such a positive atmosphere of achievement and love!

A word of thanks needs to go to our many sponsors for this event which are essential for this program to be offered. A big thanks to our friends at the YMCA at all locations, but most especially Jim O'Rourke and his team from the Greater Waterbury YMCA and John Meyer from the Southington YMCA and the entire Camp Sloper staff who were our generous hosts again this year. The amount of planning and effort that leads to a smooth running event of this size is impressive. You guys are the best!

It's the athletes themselves that make this all worthwhile. They capture the very essence of Chase's spirit with each stroke, pedal and stride. Congratulations to each of you. Chase is proud of you!

News 12 Connecticut Video Coverage

South Carolina FINALE

On August 2nd, 2016, a Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program FINALE took place for the first time outside the State of Connecticut. The success of this Program is a landmark achievement for the CMAK Foundation and its many partners. It will lead the way for the Race4Chase Program to expand to other States across the United States. In making the decision to expand beyond Connecticut borders, CMAK knew that it would need some special support so that the program could be adopted in a way that would provide the same outcomes for the athletes that our local programs achieve while capturing Chase's vitality and spirit at its core. We are very much indebted to Head Basketball Coach Pat Kelsey from Winthrop University, Moe Bell, CEO of the Upper Palmetto YMCA and the amazing program managers, Rommell RitaRita, Travis Gilbert and Caitlyn Backman plus Erika Bell and Tim Conley who made this dream a reality.

It was a pleasure to witness the determination of the 28 athletes in competing in their first triathlon at the Baxter YMCA in Fort Mill, SC. And how wonderful was it for these athletes to see the Winthrop Men's and Women's Basketball Team lining the course, keeping them focused and safe while encouraging them on to the finish. Although thunderstorms delayed our start time, the smiles on athletes and their families at the finish were well worth the wait. And those smiles persisted even as the awards ceremony took place by flashlight as darkness overtook the celebration.

A special shout out to Catherine Foerster from Fleet Feet Sports in Fort Mill for her expertise in staging the FINALE event and Scott Sartwell who not only hosted a wonderful bbq for the Race4Chase delegation at his home but also made sure that the timing of the FINALE went smoothly.

Chase was there watching over the entire event!

Chase Kowalski Memorial Fund's photo.
Race4Chase Triathlon Quilt 

Congratulations to the LeCleric family who won the Race4Chase quilt.  The drawing was held during the awards ceremony at the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program FINALE in Southington, CT.  Thankyou to Claire McNamara and Donna Prutting for their time and effort in creating this wonderful quilt.

Chase the Coast Triathlon:

It was a calm, beautiful Saturday morning at Byrum Marina in Greenwich CT.  Heather Theriault and Chris Kopcha slid into their wet suits and donned their Race4Chase swim caps while contemplating what this day would bring.  The enormity of their quest, which they hoped would lead them to an early morning date with a finish line in Westerly, Rhode Island, was really sinking in.  After months of preparation, the day had come to "Chase the Coast".   Two and one half miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running lay ahead for these inspirational women who wanted to do something special to recognize and support the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program.  Although everyone knew it would be special, it was also known that it would not be easy.

Undaunted, Heather and Chris entered the Long Island Sound for their first leg, flanked by Rebecca Kowalski and Meghan Grimes in kayaks while receiving an escort from Greenwich Harbor Master, Ian McMillan with EMT Kaylan Remington, and the Greenwich Marine Police.   After navigating Belle Haven into Greenwich Harbor, they were in excellent spirits as they exited the water at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club to transition to the cycling portion of the triathlon.  There, they were greeted by supporters including David Foster from IHYC and the Seven Plus Racing Team of Noel Mara and Mark Odgers who provided navigation and support for the first segment of the cycle from Greenwich to the Westport YMCA.

The temperatures were still at comfortable levels as Heather and Chris made their way through Stamford, CT where they were greeted by the personnel at Tile America, one of the sponsors of the Chase the Coast event.  They made good time through the city of Norwalk before arriving at their first aide station at the Westport YMCA.  Race4Chase Kids Tri program participants welcome Heather and Chris with signs and cheers and wished them well on their way.  A fresh group of support cyclists , Duane Giannini, John Williams and Kevin Grimes, took over navigation duties for the second segment.

Temperatures started to heat up as the athletes stopped at Tile America in Fairfield CT from where they were escorted by the Bridgeport Police through the city of Bridgeport to the Stratford line.  This was one of thrills of the day riding unencumbered through the busy streets of Bridgeport.  Next came a fire engine escort compliments of Tricia Wetmore and the Stratford Fire Department followed by a Milford Fire Chief wingman Ron Wetmore, escorting Heather and Chris to the Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford.

The Woodruff YMCA provided Heather and Chris with an enthusiastic Race4Chase cheering section and made sure that they were refueled for their next stop at Tile America New Haven.  Spirits were still running high despite the 95' temperatures as the athletes headed up Rt1 toward Branford.  The Branford YMCA provided another aid station where the bike support crew was refreshed with Anthony Mirabel and Chris Stack taking over the navigation responsibilities and Rebecca Kowalski keeping Heather and Chris company for the next 20 miles. The athletes were faced with their first mechanical problem of the day with Heather incurring a flat tire while leaving Branford.  Anthony Mirabel, the one man pit crew, made short work of the change, making sure that hopes were not deflated and the ladies continued on their way.

A huge crowd of avid supporters greeted the athletes at the Westbrook YMCA including the Race4Chase participants lead by Heather's two daughters.  After an enthusiastic photo session, the athletes departed to Funktion Fitness and onwards toward the transition to the run leg.  

The Niantic Center School served as an excellent transition point as they rehydrated and prepared for the marathon ahead.  The scenery was beautiful for the first part of the run, but the sun soon set, leaving the athletes to manage the route in darkness with flashlights and reflector gear.  Tag team support runners, Gina Lennon, Michelle Bailey, Corrine Cuomo, Emily Anderson, Cari Franco, Meghan Grimes and Kevin Grimes encourage Heather and Chris over the toughest miles of the day.  Ginger, Joe and medical support, Karri Davis, shadowed the athletes for the duration of the run in the support vehicle.

The hours of exertion were taking its toll but Heather and Chris persevered, drawing ever nearer to their goal.   It was past 2:30am when these athletes crossed over the CT border into Westerly, RI and crossed the finish line in Wilcox Park.  Their family, close friends and Steve and Rebecca Kowalski were on hand to witness their great accomplishment!  

Congratulations to Heather and Chris!!

May you inspire many more to great things.  Your efforts have done much to support and raise awareness of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program.  Their efforts raised over $8,000 which will be used to support the expansion of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Programs.  We are forever grateful and amazed!  

If you would like to support their fundraising campaign, please see link below.

Donate Chase the Coast

Birthday 2 Birthday Challenge 2016-

FINALE Announcement !!!!!

In an expression of solidarity with our friends at Bikes for Kids, we will be holding our 2016 B2B Challenge Finale event as part of the Bikes for Kids 1st Annual Charity Ride.  The ride will take place on October 2nd, 2016 at 7am from Old Saybrook Middle School in Old Saybrook, CT.

This event is a fundraiser for Bikes for Kids who provide all the bicycles for the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Programs including providing bicycles to any child in the program that does not have one to take home after the program is over.  The event consists of three cycling distances (5 miles, 27 miles and 63 miles) so there should be something for everyone.  

On conclusion of the cycling, there will be some special awards for those that have completed the B2B Challenge (ie finishing 1100 miles of cycling or swimming/running equivalent).  We encourage all CMAK supporters to participate in this event which supports the Bikes for Kids effort that is so important for the expansion of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program.

Please register for the event at Bikes for Kids Charity Ride under the Team Race4Chase.

Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament

Saturday, AUGUST 13th, 2016

Once again Sharon Pirhala and our friends at Nipo Lake Golf course did a fantastic job on the 3rd annual Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament. A picture perfect day for golf with grey skies overhead, but the rain held off until after the tournament. 
 We had a record number of golfers registered, 64 to be exact. Sixteen teams set off in a scramble start and all 18 holes had a sponsor. We would like to thank all of the hole sponsors including Sharon Pirhala for the $10,000.00 par 3 and her parents for sponsoring a separate hole. Jim and Deb Pallock sponsored hole #8 while the Race4Chase Boston Marathon team for sponsored hole #9 and Jim's friend, Sum Yung Gi, sponsored hole #15. 

Everyone was envious of the very festive pants worn by Jim Ulatoski on the "Ball Chaser's" team, taking the spirit of CMAK's blue and green colors to another dimension. You couldn't miss those attention grabbing pants!
                                           The Ball Chasers

For the Ball Chasers, the best memories will be how Lynn had a birdie on hole 17 and  I saved par from about 25 feet away on our last hole. I got up to make the putt and I asked Chase to help his poor mamma sink it in the hole and he came through for me. 

Race4Chase Sundae Night at Sunny Daes

CMAK would like to thank the efforts of Theresa Welsh and our friends at the Race4Chase Kids Tri Program at Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA for organizing and supporting the Race4Chase Sunday Nite at Sunny Daes ice cream shop in Trumbull, CT   The evening raised money to support the expansion and operation of the Race4Chase Program.

You can support CMAK through all your purchases on  

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Race4Chase News

TIMEX invites Race4Chase supporters to Annual 5k Community Run

Timex Group, a long time CMAK sponsor, has invited CMAK supporters to participate in their 5th Annual TIMEX Community 5k on Thursday, September 1st, 2016 at 5:30pm at the headquarters in Middlebury CT.

This free 5k race is staged by TIMEX to encourage their employees, their families and others in the community to pursue a healthy lifestyle through running.

Please register in advance at the following online site: TIMEX 5k



Our Race4Chase team has been quite active running races and making plans to conquer new challenges.

Congratulations to Brian Pogue who set a new personal best in the 70.2 Tri Distance at the Steelhead Half Ironman in Benton Harbor, Michigan by breaking the 5h30min mark for the first time with an impressive 22+ average bike speed for the 56 mile leg.

After putting in 50 miles cycling with Chase the Coast, John Williams conquered the Ironman Timberman 70.3 in Gilford New Hampshire, meeting his goal of breaking 8 hours.

Upcoming Races:

Rebecca Kowalski, Betsy Daniels, Susanne Navas and Christine Granja of the Race4Chase Tri Chiks Team will compete in the Iron Girl Triathlon on September 11th, 2016 in Sandy Hook, NJ (Highlands).  If you want to join in the fun, please see the details at the following link: IRONGIRL

Vicky Pernek completed her B2B Challenge mileage and now has upped the anti by entering the Dopey Challenge at Disney this January.

Jeremy Lawrence of Boulder, CO continues to train for the Louisville Ironman despite his recent cycling accident while Deena Ali is nearing her date with the Georgia Sky to Summit 50k Trail Run on November 5th.

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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