Click HERE for the full article.
Kittredge, as part of a team of five, pushed a cart in which a young man named Matthew sat across the finish line, helping Matthew finish the 13.1-mile race.
“As soon as we crossed the finish line, Matthew looked up at me and said, ‘That was so much fun, can we go do it again?’” Kittredge said. “Those moments make it all worth it.”
Kittredge was a member of one of six teams representing Athletes Serving Athletes to push a child through the half-marathon Sunday morning.
Athletes Serving Athletes is a nonprofit charity founded in Baltimore in 2008, which provides volunteers to help people with disabilities complete races of various lengths. It added a Frederick County chapter last year.
A team is made up of anywhere between two and four “wingmen,” a captain and the athlete the wingmen are assisting. Teams compete in running events from as far as Philadelphia.
“Our motto is ‘Together we finish,’” said Kerry Blackmer, coordinator of the Frederick County chapter. “We do it to make sure all athletes get a chance to run the race.”
This year was the third year Athletes Serving Athletes took part in the Frederick Running Festival, and is one of more than 100 events in which the organization participates each year. With five teams in Saturday’s 5K, Athletes Serving Athletes had most runners in the Frederick event since it started participating.
Wingmen are all volunteers. Founder Dave Slomkowski said there are no pre-requisites for being a volunteer aside from having a desire to help kids.
Slomkowski got the idea for Athletes Serving Athletes after seeing a documentary on Dick and Rick Hoyt — a famous father-son duo in running circles in which the father, Dick, pushed his son Rick in a wheelchair through multiple marathons and Ironman triathlons.
The documentary struck a chord with Slomkowski and he looked for a place he could help in similar ways.
The only problem was that no programs were doing anything similar to the Hoyts. So Slomkowski decided he would reach out to local schools and see if any students were interested. When the youths showed their willingness to participate, Slomkowski officially started his organization.
“The biggest thing I get out of this is perspective,” Slomkowski said. “Any time I see these kids and families who are dealing with real difficulties, it makes me realize how good I have it. It’s a constant reminder of my blessings and to not get bent out of shape about the minor things in life.”
Athletes Serving Athletes Named Official Charity Partner of the 2017 Rip It Events Race Season.
Columbia, MD – Columbia based running and multi-sport race organizer, Rip It Events LLC, today named Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) as the Official Charity Partner for their seven running and multi-sport races. As the official charity partner for 2017, ASA will benefit by receiving a portion of race proceeds while also using Rip It’s races as a platform to continue raising awareness and empowering individuals with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running events. In exchange, ASA will provide volunteer support for races and encourage athletes to compete at Rip It races.
“We are thrilled to partner with Athletes Serving Athletes,” stated Rip It Events, Owner and Race Director Danny Serpico. “We firmly believe in their mission of enriching the lives of athletes with disabilities and we’re confident that participants of our races will rally around this great cause.”
“ASA is incredibly honored to be back this year in an expanded role as Rip It's chosen charity partner, kicking off the Howard County race season at the Columbia Half Marathon and 5K on April 23rd. Our Athletes & Wingmen community benefit greatly from the high quality race experiences presented by Rip It. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide life changing experiences to our participants & work to expand our ability to provide that "thrill of racing feeling" to all as they cross the finish line.” – Stephanie Blades, ASA Howard County Coordinator.
For more information about Athletes Serving Athletes, visit: www.athletesservingathletes.org For more information about Rip It Events and races, visit: www.ripitevents.com
About Rip It Events, LLC: Rip It Events, LLC was founded in 2010 and has successful event planning experience in the entertainment, athletic, and non-profit sectors. Owned and operated by Danny and Suzy Serpico, Rip It Events produces the Little Patuxent River Half Marathon, Columbia Half Marathon, St. Mary’s Historic Half Marathon, Maryland Duathlon, Ellicott City 5K/10K, Columbia Glow Run and the Columbia Turkey Chase. Additionally, Rip It Events manages large-scale events such as the Howard County School System 5K, and provides individual coaching for multi-sport athletes.
About Athletes Serving Athletes: Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) brings people together to experience the joy, excitement, and thrill of competition. ASA offers innovative athletic training, supportive mentor relationships, and high quality endurance events for athletes living with disabilities. ASA uses athletic activity as a catalyst for personal development, improving physical fitness, increasing self-esteem and empowering challenged youth to meet their highest potential. ASA inspires all people to give of themselves and live more active lifestyles, pursuing a high quality of life and achievement.