Monday, January 30, 2017

4th Annual CJ's Resolution Challenge

Our fourth year was a tremendous success! There were 170 participants out there who braved the chill and covered 1596.8 miles. 

Let me say that again for emphasis. 

Collectively, in our three hour event, you all ran/walked 1596.8 miles. That's over 500 miles an hour!!! And if we had been on a plane together we would have flown from R. B. Winter State Park to Denver, Colorado!  We also had 42 Virtual Participants in twenty different states plus one who ran in Canada.  I am completely blown away!  You are all amazing.
CJ's Participants- photos courtesy Charlie Guttendorf

Last Friday night I was able to donate $6000 to this year's beneficiary!  ADERS, or Autism Diagnostic Evaluations Resources Services, Inc., is a 501c3 nonprofit located in Montandon, PA whose mission is to be able to provide comprehensive autism services from diagnosis across the lifespan. They have several ambitious projects on the horizon, including renovations to a newly acquired large meeting space (which have begun!), a pilot social skills program for elementary kids, a day habilitation program, professional trainings, and much needed social events for people who are affected by ASD (they have an event coming up next month!) Please check out and 'like' their Facebook page.   
Cullen handed Steve the check with a "Here ya go!!!"

As usual, I'd like to share some of my favorite comments from this year's participants.

"I have to say that this was the most organized, friendly, and all around awesome race I have ever been to. I was absolutely freezing, and I stopped in to warm up with a half a bowl of soup and bread between laps and everyone was so friendly! The soups were FANTASTIC!!! I couldn't believe how much food, snacks, and drinks you had available. The volunteers were so cheerful, even though they were probably freezing. I hope you continue with this race and I will definitely see you next year!" Heather

I wanted to say thank you so much for organizing such an awesome event for a great cause. This race was so much fun! The energy facilitated by the dedicated runners and organizers would make anyone hyped up enough to run for 3 hours. It was so encouraging and exciting to see so many people come together to promote physical activity and autism awareness. This is a very unique combination! The positive energy and determination of the runners and volunteers was super motivating and inspiring. It made the weather conditions more tolerable!! I can't wait for next year!"  Arielle W. 

"Thanks for a great race this past weekend! And congrats to all the participants who toughed it out on a very chilly day!  Funny how a 1.6 mile loop can fly by, and before you've run 20 miles!" Kelly H.

"I loved it!! What a fun event...even in the cold!!! I've never been to a race that is designed for the casual exerciser and the competitive runner! It was neat to see so many doing what works for them!! And it was my first trail "jog" in the snow!!!  Whether it is about resolving the challenges of autism or about your personal resolutions for the new year (or both)...don't miss this run next year!!!  The food was free, the music was fun, the course is flat, the PEOPLE were fantastic, the fire was warm, the T is a keeper, and the cause is meaningful!!!  Thanks so much to everyone that came.  You would love this race because you can go farther or stop early, take a break and go was fun!!" Christy R.

"Year four of CJ's Challenge to benefit Autism charities. Collin and I have run every year. We love this three hour challenge on the trails at RB Winter State Park. The temp at the start of the race was a balmy 15' degrees which was warm compared to the -8 our first year when Collin was only 11! Thank you for organizing this race and choosing a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  See you in 2018!" Tracy W.

"I ran more today then I have the entire month of December. I did 16 miles for a great charity for Autism, CJ's Resolutions Challenge in a chilly 15 or so degrees on trail dotted with ice patches. It wasn't easy and I'm definitely way out of shape but I'm happy with the distance I covered and glad that I was able to help out for this great cause and see some of my good running friends. Thanks for organizing this great event and also to all the friendly volunteers who helped out to make it a great success!"  Paul H.

"One of my favorite running events provided over 9.5 miles of icy trails and frigid temperatures but the people at this event have the biggest hearts and are so supportive! Happy to have spent the morning with many friendly faces raising money to support local autism charities! Great job as usual putting on a fantastic event!" Michele B.

Feedback like that helps keep us going.  I thank you all for your kind words.  Also, a special thank you to the Mifflinburg Community Ambulance Company for being available to come to our aid as needed. Thank you to Charlie for taking photos throughout the day. Thank you to all the volunteers who arrived early and stayed late to ensure a great event. Thank you A.W. Entertainment for the music- we loved it! Thank you to our Super Soup Ladies- that soup was oh so yummy and oh so necessary! 
Nom nom!

An event like this simply could not be put together by a single person.  I could never say the words "thank you" enough to express how much gratitude I have for each and every one of you who helps make this race happen.  To my friends and family, runners, spectators, and volunteers who have for four years now, voluntarily froze beside me on the mountain, you believe that this is more than just a race.  You understand that we do this to honor my son, to shine a light on autism, to have the conversations that make an impact, to connect someone to the resources they may need, and to build a network of support that could last lifetimes. 

And yes, we have a ton of fun, but surely, this is more than just a race.

See you next year!