CMAK Foundation Newsletter
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    April 2015            

from Rebecca

The ultimate friendship grows through love. I have learned since I was a little girl that it takes a friend to be a friend. I have lived that way my entire life. When I was in first grade, I met my first best friend. She was amazing, beautiful and always thoughtful. She was in my life until we were in 10th grade. When she passed, I was devastated. I never thought that I would ever have a friend like her. It wasn't until 5 years later that I met my Gail King! Just like Oprah, my friend Michele is equal to or better than her best friend Gail King. It is my understanding that Gail King is Oprah's right hand. I like to think of Michele as my right heart. We have been the best of friends almost since the day she came to pick up tile at my house. We worked together at Tile America, she in Danbury and I in Fairfield. We have been in each others weddings, we have raised our beautiful children together, we have mourned the loss of my brother, and both of our fathers. Michele was the first call I received when the news broke about Sandy Hook School. It was Michele, Chase's Godmother, who held our hands through the most difficult days of our lives. It is Michele who keeps my head on straight, talks me off the ledge when I am a hot mess because my life is not the life that I expected it to be. She is the mother to my children when I can't be. This bond of friendship runs so deep. We have had close to 30 years to cultivate this extraordinary friendship and never had the smallest of disagreements. I share this because sometimes you don't need 30 years to cultivate such a friendship. Sometimes you are lucky enough to have a friend that will honor you when you are gone. Chase had some friends just like that. His friend, Quinn McGuire, continues to be a great friend to Chase by running in races and collecting donations in honor of his preschool friend. Ben Rosenthal just celebrated his 9th birthday and decided to honor his friend, Chase, by asking friends to donate to CMAK Foundation instead of giving him birthday gifts. Ben and Chase had just become friends through baseball. In the end, it is the love of a friend that makes us the best people we can be. When we are true to our hearts, our hearts are open to be the best person we can be and that helps make us the best friend we choose to be. Know that if you don't have your Gail King, she is out there. Just ask God for a best friend, he answers prayers, just ask Michele. Apparently, I was the answer to her prayers, and she was my Godsend, my Gail King.


USA Triathlon Foundation Approves Grant to CMAK to Support Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Programs
The USA Triathlon Foundation has selected CMAK to receive a $5,000 grant to support the operation of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program for 2015.  The six week training program for youth 6 to 12 years of age culminating in a USAT sanction youth triathlon has expanded from three sites in 2014 to ten sites in 2015 including two sites outside of Connecticut.  The USA Triathlon Foundation was seeking opportunities that "support and promote triathlon and open pathways to triathlon to those for whom it might not otherwise be possible."  

USA Triathlon Foundation goals are tightly aligned with CMAK's mission in pursuing the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program.  "The Foundation believes every aspiring young athlete should have the opportunity to participate in our life-changing sport. Many children swim, bike and run on a daily basis. Putting each discipline together provides a fun fitness outlet that can jumpstart a healthy lifestyle for years to come.  Our goal is to introduce kids to a lifetime of health and fitness. Supporting kids at the grassroots level can build self-esteem, belonging and help fight the rising childhood obesity epidemic, building A Healthier America Through Triathlon."

We thank the USA Triathlon Foundation for their generous support in 2015 and look forward to continued cooperation as the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program gives children throughout the country the same opportunity the Chase Kowalski had at such an early age.

Birthday to Birthday Challenge Social Gathering

The B2B Challenge will be having a social gathering on Thursday April 23rd in Sandy Hook, CT.  This will be an evening where B2B Challenge participants can share their experiences as they work toward fulfilling the nine races prior to the final event.  They will have a chance to discuss with the B2B Challenge coach, Susanne Navas, to get pointers on their training.  It will also be an opportunity to hear more about what is being planned for the final event.  The evening is open for all CMAK supporters who want to be involved in the B2B Challenge as participant or volunteer for the final event.  For those interested in attending, please RSVP to

Vicki and Sue Pernek are well on their way in satisfying the Birthday2Birthday Challenge by completing their 7th race.  As shown by the photo below, they are strategically choosing their races so that they can have as much fun as possible while completing the Challenge.

The last B2B Challenge Team race, Run for Sandy Hook 5k held on March 29th, was a big success (see recap below), while there is still time to join the next race at the Color Me Rad 5k Run in Hartford on May 2nd, 2015.  Look for the Race4Chase tents on arrival.

2nd Annual Crazy 8 Ride4Chase takes to the open road May 3rd

Start your engines!!  The Crazy 8 Ride4Chase is fast approaching.  We are all hoping that this late start to Spring will mean that the weather will be perfect for a ride through the countryside by early May.  Starting at Molto Bene Restaurant in Ansonia, CT on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015, participants will mount their bikes and tour Connecticut's scenic roads while collecting playing cards at each unique rest area, finishing back at Molto Bene's for delicious food and fabulous entertainment provided by Social Convention.  There will be great prizes and amazing raffles, including a 50/50 raffle.  More details can be found on the Crazy 8's Ride4Chase Facebook page and website at Crazy 8 Ride4Chase.

Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program Update

The ten sites that will host the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program are busy preparing all the details to make the six week programs an amazing experience for every athlete. Each individual site will administer their application and approval process to choose the participants.  This process will begin shortly and those interested in applying for a position in the program should contact their nearest site for more details.  For the full list of sites, please see the following link: Official  2015 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Sites

Along with the application process, the sites are training coaches and supervisors to execute the program, while CMAK is seeking support from sponsors for the equipment required for the start up of our seven new sites.  We will be supplying bicycles, helmets, goggles, swim caps, t-shirts and other essential equipment for the programs including support for staging the FINALE triathlon for each of the sites.  The FINALE for the sites based in Connecticut will take place in Southington CT on August 1st, 2015 where we hope to crown over 250 new triathletes.  The date for the FINALE in at the South Carolina sites is yet to be determined.

Reminder: CMAK at Rockin' Jump, Round 2- June 2nd

Rockin'Jump Trampoline Park will host a CMAK session at their facility in Trumbull CT on June 2nd, 2015.  CMAK supporters, especially the kids, can again enjoy an evening of bouncing fun with their friends.  Wear your CMAK socks and have a great time for all the family. Rockin' Jump Trampoline Park (203-880-5577) in Trumbull CT.  A portion of the entry fee will be donated back to the CMAK Foundation by the owners of Rockin' Jump.  We appreciate their support.

CMAK recognized the support of Glen Ro Liquors through their Christmas Eve bottle drive.  Rebecca Kowalski presents a Race4Chase sponsor plaque to Larry Cass of Glenn Ro in appreciation of their efforts. 


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Race4Chase News

Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team in Preparation:

ONLY 7 Days Away!!!!

Zoe Schwalje, Jonathan Pleva, Amanda Jacob, Erin Flanagan and John Williams have begun tapering their training leading up to the BIG DAY on April 20th when they will compete at the Boston Marathon on the Race4Chase team.  Those long runs are all in the bank now and each runner can focus on getting some rest so that they can be at their peek condition when they cross the starting line.

Not only has our team been training hard for the 26.2 miles, they have done an outstanding job in fundraising for the Foundation.  Zoe and Jonathan each surpassed by a significant margin their $5,000 goals required by the John Hancock program.   Combined with the efforts of Amanda, Erin and John, the team has already fulfilled 60% of an ambitious team goal of $28,000.  Please show your support to their efforts at the following link Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team to make a donation to any of our team members.  Let's try to make this last week their biggest week so far!
Sandy Hook 5k

Snow , sleet and freezing rain did not deter the Race4Chase contingent from competing at the 5k for Sandy Hook.  Despite the weather, the Race4Chase team gave some impressive performances.  Erin Flanagan showed that she is in fine form for the upcoming Boston Marathon by taking 1st place in the overall woman's division in a time of 20:40.  Rebecca Kowalski, with an impressive kick, smashed her previous best 5k performance by several minutes in breaking 38 minutes on the course. Her B2B Challenge training is really paying off.  Riley Rising was the first Race4Chase runner across the line in 20:02 taking 8th place overall.  Meghan Grimes finished 1st in her age group, while Carter Brey and Kevin Grimes were second in their respective divisions.

Danbury Half Marathon

David Pru'homme of Newtown began his racing season that he is dedicating to Chase at the Danbury Half Marathon.  David is training for the Ironman Lake Placid in July and will be running a series of road races and shorter triathlons building up to July's event.  His quest is mentioned in a recent Newtown Bee article.  Please join David and other Race4Chase suppprters as athlete or volunteer at the Challenge Quassy Half Ironman in Middletown, CT on Sunday June 7th (see below).

CMAK at Challenge Quassy Half Ironman

The Race4Chase team will participate in the Challenge Quassy Triathlon (Formerly Rev-3 Triathlon) again this year.  There are a number of Race4Chase triathletes who will be competing in the Half Ironman distance while CMAK as an official charity at the event will be organizing its supporters to man a water station along the course.  Please advise if you want to join the Race4Chase team in the Half Ironman or alternatively volunteer to man the water station and cheer on our athletes at

Baton Update:

Baton # 4- (Green)

Denise Hartmann set a new personal best for a Half Marathon at the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half Marathon by over 12 MINUTES!  After taking the baton from Scott Sartwell, she was determined to set a new standard for herself while running for Chase.  I am sure Chase is proud of her performance.  

Denise is passing the baton to a close friend, Erin Byrge, who will be running the Marathon at the Let's Move Festival of Races in Mt Clemens, MI at the end of April in route to her preparing for the Ironman Lake Placid in July.  Currently, Erin will be joining David Pru'homme running for Chase at Lake Placid.  Let us know if there will be any other Race4Chase Triathletes competing at this event.

Baton #5 - (Blue)

Donna Decker completed the Half Marathon at the All American Marathon at Fort Bragg in late March, her longest race in many years.  She was joined by Kevin Grimes who defended his age group title finishing just ahead of his 2014 time.

A big thanks to for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program. 

Upcoming Events


Birthday to Birthday Challenge
October 31st, 2014 to October 31st, 2015
Register Here
10 Events to Qualify

Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team
Boston, MA
Monday, April 20th, 2015

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