The Run for Inclusion is more than just a race, it is a moment in time where the Power of People creates the Possibility for Inclusion in our community.
“Challenge Enterprises and The Ability Experience have been partnering together for over a decade. Every May, The Ability Experience puts on a charity bicycle ride from Miami to Tallahassee with a stop in Jacksonville. Along the way, the team visits different disability organizations. Challenge Enterprises has been hosting a visit with the team since 2009. When the opportunity came about to partner with each other for Gate River Run, both organizations dove right in! We have been blown away by the growth of our team since 2020. It speaks to the impact that the athletes with disabilities have on the team as well as the inspiration and joy they bring to the event,” shares Andrew Matznick the Assistant Executive Director of Programs for The Ability Experience.
This is our fourth year participating in the Run for Inclusion. In 2020, Challenge Enterprises and The Ability Experience started with four differently-abled athletes, twelve support athletes, and a small budget. Despite the restrictions and difficulties due to COVID, the 2021 Run for Inclusion included five differently-abled athletes and eighteen support athletes that raised $10,000. Dawn White from our local NBC/ABC affiliate helped to share their story of inclusion. The Run for Inclusion 2022 did not just grow in size but in opportunity. Logistically, the last two years were focused on 15K participation. In 2022, the opportunity opened to include 5K athletes. The 2022 team had sixteen differently-abled athletes, and twenty-four support athletes, and raised almost $16K. In addition, Challenge Enterprises Shipboard Logistic team member Jeremy Hebda completed the 15K Run in dedication to his father who had just recently passed away. The 2023 team had participants in both the 15K and 5K races and was comprised of 42 supporting athletes and 26 athletes with different abilities. Team members from Challenge Enterprises and The Ability Experience combined forces again to create a fundraising team to ensure the burden of participation is not a limiting factor to our differently-abled athletes. That is worth ringing a cowbell or two for!
“Beyond the opportunity to showcase our mission, participating in the Gate River Run gives our individuals the space to shine and spotlight their own achievements, stories, and contributions to our community. Behind every race bib is a story about overcoming obstacles on the road to greater independence and achievement, “explains Challenge Enterprises Director of Marketing and Communications, Stephanie Young.
Special thanks to our community partners The Ability Experience, Jason Beutel, Louis Venturello, T5 Sportswear, Florida Powertrain & Hydraulics, Raesemann Enterprises, F3, FreedomVanGo, UNF Pi Kappa Phi Alumni Association, and Kyle Pease Foundation.
CLAY TODAY: Challenge Enterprises to make more strides at Gate River Run
This year’s event on March 4 will be their fourth year partnering together to participate in The Run for Inclusion at the Gate River Run.