Dear friends and family,
We all have events in our lives that are synonymous with summertime. For me, that is the VT 100. The VT 100 is a race that I look forward to every summer. The race has been around for 32 years; I have run it 15 of those years (only John Geesler has more finishes than I do – 29!). Even with all those finishes, it is one of those races for which my passion never diminishes. The back roads, bucolic countryside, and supportive property owners are like second family; I miss seeing “Blessed” the pig from years back; and was fortunate to experience the “Chariots of Fire” piano start from Steve Rojak and Smokerise Farm back in the day.
As athletes – be it runner, hiker, biker, swimmer, yogi, horseback rider – we know the pure, unfiltered joy and freedom that comes when we are engaged in our activity. Yet there are people out there for whom just getting out to walk can be a challenge. People who need a little extra assistance to meet the challenge that brings health, fun and passion to their lives. Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (VASS) provides sports and recreational programs as well as wellness and environmental retreats to people with disabilities. Their programs are offered to people of all ages, with a variety of disabilities. Some even partake in the VT100! In recent years, I have been inspired by the athletes with disabilities participating in this race. Last year’s race embedded an image in my mind that is testament to the commitment of both VASS and the VT100 race committee: the RD herself – in addition to all her other responsibilities – pacing a blind runner.
The Vermont 100 is one of the major fundraisers for VASS. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic – as with many other events – led to the cancellation of this year’s formal VT 100 race. Thus, I will be running my own VT 100, with the primary goal of raising as much money as possible for VASS. Due to travel restrictions, I’ll be running “The VT100 in VA,” utilizing the Old Dominion 100 course. While I will miss dancing to Jimmy Buffet at the Margaritaville aid station (staffed by VASS), the excitement of runners coming from all direction at Camp 10 Bear, and my yearly goal of making it to Bill’s (mile 89.9) without a headlamp, I’ll run knowing I’m supporting a worthy cause and grateful for the opportunity to be experiencing “the sites and sounds of Vermont” – in Woodstock, VA ??
Please consider donating what you can to support VASS!
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that empowers people of all disabilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. Programs include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and Nordic in the winter; and sailing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more in the warmer months.In addition to sports, year round programming options integrate environmental, holistic wellness, and competitive training philosophies for people of all ages with cognitive, developmental, physical and emotional/behavioral disabilities. The organization believes sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual.