USA Triathlon and the USA Triathlon Foundation have announced a formal partnership with the CMAK (Chase Michael-Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, founded in remembrance of Chase Kowalski.
Chase Kowalski was a first grader at Sandy Hook Elementary when he sadly lost his life at the December 2012 tragedy. To honour Chase and capture his energy and competitive spirit, the Kowalski family founded the CMAK Foundation. CMAK focuses on health and wellness for children and their families, pursuing programs and initiatives that encourage personal improvement, healthy lifestyles, and strong families and communities.
The CMAK mission inspires community healing through family and children-focused initiatives — including the Race4Chase youth triathlon training program, which teaches the fundamentals of triathlon while building camaraderie, self-esteem and healthy, active lifestyles.
Race4Chase, a program of the CMAK Foundation run through local YMCAs, provides opportunities for youth ages 6-12 to learn about, and experience, triathlon at no charge. There are currently 24 Race4Chase program sites across the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
With USA Triathlon’s support, CMAK will expand that to 27 sites, including sites in Washington DC, for the 2019 season. At each program site, youth are introduced to triathlon in a camp setting over a six-week period — culminating in a FINALE event in which participants complete a triathlon. Race4Chase will conclude its summer triathlon programs with each state hosting a FINALE event.
CMAK will also stage a community triathlon open to all youth athletes on Sunday, July 14, in Monroe, Connecticut, bringing the total number of Race4Chase triathlon events to five for 2019.
In addition to its youth programming, Race4Chase also enables runners and triathletes of all ages to support CMAK while they train and race via grassroots online fundraising campaigns.
CMAK has been a USA Triathlon Foundation grant recipient since 2015. USA Triathlon and the USA Triathlon Foundation are increasing their financial support in 2019 to aid the national buildout of program sites and FINALE events.
“My husband, Stephen, and I are excited and proud to be in partnership with USA Triathlon for the betterment of the Race4Chase kids’ triathlon program,” said Rebecca Kowalski, mother of Chase and President of CMAK. “This partnership will provide resources to enhance the quality of the program for all its athletes, support its continued national expansion and confirm Race4Chase as a valuable option for introducing youth to the sport of triathlon.
“It is exciting to see how Chase’s spirit has captured the attention of so many while bringing the thrill of achievement to our youth through triathlon. We thank USA Triathlon for their commitment to the Race4Chase program and look forward to a long-lasting relationship while serving our youth in Chase’s name.”
“USA Triathlon looks forward to working more closely with the CMAK Foundation and Race4Chase in 2019 to bring triathlon to youth at no cost,” said Meg Duncan, Youth Program Manager at USA Triathlon. “This program has shown incredible growth since its inception. We could not be more proud of how Race4Chase has partnered with local communities and YMCAs to bring multisport to kids, all while honouring Chase and the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.”
David Deschenes, Executive Director of the USA Triathlon Foundation added, “The USA Triathlon Foundation is honored to again support the CMAK Foundation to help build programs in Chase’s memory, while encouraging children and families to lead healthy lifestyles through swimming, biking and running.”