In Courtney Mann’s bedroom there’s a collection of gaudy trophies, ribbons and medals- the byproduct of a decorated running career. A senior at Howard High School this spring, Mann has established herself as one of the state’s top distance runners over the last four years.
And yet, for her lengthy list of accomplishments, which includes a pair of outdoor track county titles this spring, Mann said she found just as much gratification while taking time to run outside the spotlight.
It is through her participation in Athletes Serving Athletes, a charity-funded, nonprofit organization that empowers individuals with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events, that Mann finds a state of serenity.
“I wanted to do something with [running] other than compete, which is still something I love to do,” said Mann, who will run cross country and track at the University of Maryland starting in the fall. “[Athletes Serving Athletes] helps me recognize the values of these athletes I’m helping. They’re similar, if not identical, to my own. That’s something I’ve gained a lot from this program. … Every race, there’s always a new moment. A new thing that reminds me this is why I do this.”
(Read the entire article HERE)
BOULDER — As a steady stream of exhausted athletes crossed the finish line of the Ironman Boulder, the volume of cheers rose Sunday at 10:30 p.m. to welcome James Banks and David Slomkowski to the end of their long ordeal.
The duo from Baltimore had begun 15 hours and 45 minutes earlier. Banks, whom Slomkowski pulled and pushed for more than 140 miles, smiled broadly after a finish-area volunteer hung the Ironman medal from his neck. Banks, 18, has cerebral palsy and scoliosis.
“Booyah!” a group of friends shouted, knowing that is Banks’ favorite word for expressing happiness.
“Booyah!” he replied to whoops and hollers.
“You are an Ironman!” someone shouted.
Slomkowski founded Athletes Serving Athletes in Baltimore a decade ago after being inspired by the story of Team Hoyt. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through 72 marathons and seven Ironmans. Banks was one of ASA’s first athletes, and it was a “dream come true” for Slomkowski to give him the Ironman experience.
(Read the entire article HERE)
At a recent triathlon, just ahead of him, there was an older woman in James Banks' path struggling to keep it together.
When her trembling legs forced her to the ground moments later, Banks did exactly what he always does in those situations. Banks stopped alongside her, far less concerned about the meaningless few seconds he'd lose from his final time than making sure a fellow athlete received a much-needed confidence boost at a critical personal juncture.
Of course, this act in and of itself shouldn't come as a complete shock. Endurance athletes hail from a proud community in which communal encouragement often is just part of the deal. In Banks' case, however, the depth of his compassion is exceeded only by his boundless determination.
Banks, a 19-year old from Baltimore, has been competing in triathlons for eight years despite significant physical handicaps stemming from cerebral palsy and scoliosis. Banks is making the trip to Colorado to compete in the Ironman Boulder on Sunday. Even if he doesn't make a mark with his grit, chances are his encouraging voice will be heard.
(Read the entire article HERE)
Frederick News-Post | Athletes Serving Athletes puts the finish line in reach at Frederick half-marathon
Dave Kittredge had barely crossed the finish line at the half-marathon during the Frederick Running Festival before he was asked to run it again.
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.”
(Read the entire article HERE)
Press Release | James Banks, Athlete with Cerebral Palsy from Baltimore, MD to Compete in 2017 Ironman Boulder 140.3 Triathlon with Help from ‘Athletes Serving Athletes’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2017
BALTIMORE, MD — James Banks, a 19 year old from Baltimore, MD who is living with cerebral palsy and scoliosis, will participate in the 2017 IRONMAN Boulder 140.3 triathlon on Sunday, June 11th. James has competed in the sport of triathlon for over 8 years with the help of Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA), a non-profit organization that empowers athletes living with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events.
The race will take place at the foot of the Flatiron Mountains in Boulder, CO and will include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Despite his confinement to a wheelchair since birth, with extremely limited mobility, James will compete with the assistance of an ASA volunteer known as a “WingMan.” This WingMan will help James cross the finish line by towing him across the water in a custom-designed harness and raft, riding with him in a specially equipped bicycle and pushing him in a custom-built ASA racing chair. James’s WingMan for this event will be ASA’s founder and executive director, David Slomkowski.
“James Banks was ASA’s first athlete and his race record would be impressive for anyone, let alone someone with James’s unique abilities,” said Slomkowski. “To our knowledge no athlete with cerebral palsy and scoliosis from Maryland has ever attempted or completed such physically demanding distances. I consider racing with James one of the greatest privileges in my life.”
Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) RunFest
Saturday, October 29
9am – 1 pm
Event Location: 230 Schilling Circle, Hunt Valley, Md
ASA 5K & Fall Family Festival in Hunt Valley to Benefit Athletes with Disabilities
PRE-RACE Media Training Event with Athletes & Wingman Runners
Tuesday, October 25 at 5:45 pm,
Parking Lot, North Central Railroad Trail, Papermill Road, Phoenix, MD
CONTACT: Sarah Slomkowski, 410-963-7501, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Margaret Burns, 410-960-7075, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2016
Baltimore, Md. (October 24, 2016) — Together We Finish. There is no day that offers a better example of ASA’s mission than Saturday, October 29 when Athletes Serving Athletes, in partnership with RBC Wealth Management, will host its eighth ASA RunFest in Hunt Valley with a goal to raise $75 K to support ASA’s mission to empower athletes living with disabilities by helping them train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events throughout the year.
Together We Serve. It’s a day ASA loves to share with the community, starting with the 70 athletes living with disabilities who will be competing in one of three events — 10K, 5K and a 1-mile walk. There will also be a 1/4-mile Kids Halloween Hustle for children in costumes. Proceeds will benefit Athletes Serving Athletes, which enables athletes with disabilities to compete in races with the help of volunteer WingMen, who push them in custom-built joggers.
Beginning in 2009, this annual mainstream event continues to enrich our community and celebrate the hard work and achievements of individuals living with disabilities and their desire to cross the finish line in mainstream running and triathlon events.
Not only is the ASA RunFest just one of more than 80 running and triathlon events that Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) participates in each year, it is our signature event!
Each year we bring together the ASA Community of volunteers, Athletes, families, fans, friends, sponsors and supporters with the Baltimore community to celebrate what is possible. We couldn’t do it without you – our committed supporters that make these events happen year round. Proceeds will benefit Athletes Serving Athletes, which enables athletes with disabilities to compete in races with the help of WingMen volunteers, who push them in custom-built joggers.
Together We Participate.
Runners can register at: www.asa.run
through October 28th, or on the grounds of the lead corporate sponsor, RBC Wealth Management, 225 Schilling Circle, Hunt Valley, Md on the morning of the event.
Together We Celebrate. Yes, it’s a day for friendly competition, but it’s also a day for fun. The post-race festivities will include, live music, games, crafts and, of course, Halloween treats. Costumes are encouraged for all ages.
Your support helps empower young athletes living with disabilities to cross the finish line at these running and triathlon events. And your active participation not only makes a difference in an athlete’s life – it makes a difference in yours. Enjoy time well-spent with family and friends, and bond with others in your community!
Together We Plan.
Here is the schedule for the ASA RunFest:
Check-in and Packet-Pickup: 7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. (at 225 Schilling Circle, Hunt Valley, Md.)
10K Run Start: 9:00 a.m.
5K Run Start: 9:05 a.m.
1 Mile Walk Start: 9:10 a.m.
Kids Halloween Hustle Start: 9:45 a.m.
Awards Ceremony and Post-Race Festival: 10:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Together We Flourish. The number of athletes participating this year surpasses last year’s enrollment by about 20, and it’s through your support and encouragement that this non-profit group continues to grow. “Each year we are honored and grateful to see so many community members come out and show their support for these inspiring athletes,” said David Slomkowski, Executive Director of ASA. “It’s a wonderful, fun event that celebrates the hard work and achievements of our courageous athletes.”
Participants can register at through October 29th, www.asa.run
or onsite the morning of the race. The registration fee for the 5K race and 1 mile walk is $30 and the 10K is $35, and online $35 and $40 on race day. The registration fee for the Kids Halloween Hustle is $20.
Together We Succeed. More details about Athletes Serving Athletes’ program.
Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) is a non-profit organization, etc.
About Athletes Serving Athletes
Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) is a non-profit organization located in Maryland that empowers athletes living with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events. Most ASA athletes have very limited to no mobility and compete with the assistance of able bodied volunteers termed “WingMen” (men and women, young and old, fast and slow). ASA offers innovative athletic training, supportive mentor relationships, and high quality endurance events for athletes living with disabilities – all of which are free of charge to the individuals and families served. To support or to learn more about ASA, visit www.asa.run.
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