Annual Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Honors Sandy Hook Victim
Sunday’s event marked the finale of a two-week summer fitness program founded by the Kowalski family who started the program six years ago to honor their late son’s memory who died tragically in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012.
Training for this year’s race looked differently as it had in the past. In lieu of a traditional six-week preparation period, training sessions took place in two, two-week sessions to allow for smaller, stable groups in an effort to be COVID compliant.
“I was really excited and proud of myself that I have been doing this race three years straight,” said 9-year-old Annabelle Marquez, who came in first place in her age group. “I really wanted to do this for Chase,” she continued.
“Annabelle learned how to ride her bike through this program, said Silke Scholz, Annabelle’s mother. “We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of the Y coaches.”
Historically, the final Race4Chase event has been held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island with hundreds of children from across the state participating. This year, the staffing team at the Y mustered up their creativity and designed a course at the facility in Barrington, Rhode Island.
“Despite the changes to Race for Chase due COVID-19, our athletes did a tremendous job practicing and did an awesome job in the triathlon,” said Race4Chase Coach, Bob Hassan.
The young athletes swam 100 yards in the outdoor pool, pedaled their way through a one-mile bike ride, and finished with a three quarter of a mile run on the Veterans’ Memorial Park baseball field next to the Y.
After the race, each athlete received a certificate of recognition for their hard work and dedication surrounded by family and friends.
First place winners for each age group:
- Age 7 Brendan Philippe, Bristol, RI
- Age 8 Aarna Jhunjhunwala, Barrington, RI
- Age 9 Annabelle Marquez, Barrington, RI
- Age 10 Alfie Davies, Barrington, RI
- Age 11 Finn Pansa, Bristol, RI
- Age 12 Benjamin Choi-Shattle, Barrington, RI
Logan Lane of Bristol and McKenna Philippe of Barrington were also awarded the Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating strong moral character, athletic performance, and professionalism throughout the race.
I was pretty surprised when they announced my name for the Sportsmanship Award,” said Logan Lane, Race4Chase Triathlete. “I signed up because I love the whole Foundation and the fact that it teaches kids how to bike, swim, and run,” Lane continued.
“I love encouraging my friends and playing sports,” said McKenna Philippe, Race4Chase Triathlete. “When I crossed the finish line, I felt like I had broken a barrier,” Philippe said proudly.
Since 2014, the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program has expanded from 90 athletes to 1,000. The CMAK Foundation will continue to expand the program to provide more children with the same experience that Chase so loved.
“It’s like seeing a little Chase every time,” said Rebecca Kowalski, Chase’s mother and Founder of the CMAK Foundation. “I know what we’re doing is changing the world and making people remember Chase. It helps you heal a little bit more," she said.
Visit the CMAK Foundation to learn more about Race4Chase.