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Marathon to benefit Challenge Aspen

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A marathon fund-raising effort is under way at Challenge Aspen: A 26.2-mile run in Switzerland will benefit the local nonprofit in October.

A group of locals will run the Lausanne Marathon on Oct. 26, raising funds for Challenge Aspen’s many programs for people with disabilities. Participants can walk or run either a half marathon or a full marathon, and the $4,500 each person raises pays for the trip to Switzerland, group training for the run, and raises money for Challenge Aspen.

Sally Sparhawk, who has been a Challenge Aspen instructor for six years, is the coordinator for the marathon group.

“It’s a personal challenge for people and we’re getting people psyched about it,” she said. “Challenge Aspen makes possibilities for people with disabilities, so this is a chance to contribute to a good cause.”

Even those who have never run a marathon before are welcome to join the group – training for the race is included with the money raised. A company called 1st Marathon has a contract with Challenge Aspen to provide the training, and local Austin Weiss will lead the group training session on Saturday mornings starting June 7.

Brian Collins, the founder of 1st Marathon, was the first American finisher in the 100th annual Boston Marathon. To date the company has a 100 percent success rate helping people finish their first marathons.

Water during the training sessions will be provided by Aspen Pure, and Challenge Aspen is looking for more sponsors to help out.

Challenge Aspen has about 20 people signed up to race, including four Challenge Aspen staffers, but hopes to have 60 people total to take to Switzerland. The group will stay in Lausanne for six nights.

Signing up for the trip includes not only training advice, but a 20-week fund-raising program and suggestions on how to solicit donations from friends, family and co-workers.

At 1,400 feet, the group from Aspen will be running at a much lower altitude, although some participants from sea level will have to endure a small change in altitude. Sparhawk noted that the course is also flat, so it’s known for being an easier marathon route that winds between Lake Geneva and the French Alps.

For more information about the marathon trip to benefit Challenge Aspen, contact Sally Sparhawk at 923-0578, ext. 23, or ssparhawk@earthlink.net.


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