Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day - Joyful 5k - Biggest Christmas Day 5k in the USA

Thank you for being a part of Charities Challenge's 6th Annual Christmas Day - Joyful 5k at Como Lake in St Paul, and making it “The Biggest Christmas Day 5k in the USA”.

You may enjoy remembering some of the morning's special experiences as you view the online edited photos slideshow while hearing again a 2011 Christmas Day 5k holiday theme songs

Click on “Slideshow” at the top of the page and be sure to also turn up your sound to enjoy joyful theme songs with the show.

As the slideshow is set for 1 second per image, you can see over 700 images in about 7 minutes. When have more time for viewing, you may slow the show by changing to from 1 second to 2 or 3 for the “duration”.

You’re also welcome to open the photos “Index” and freely copy from the photos index those images you may want save in your computer, and then send photos to family/friends via e-mail or paste to your Facebook page. While you’re at Facebook you’re welcome to join other friends of CC where we can all keep up with RxExercise News and CC Events and Programs. You’re also welcome to add me, Gary Westlund, to your Facebook friends.

Please send back to me any special e-notes stories about how walking and running on Christmas Day may have especially brightened-lightened your day and/or someone with whom you participated.

While editing the photos I was particularly cheered by the images I saw of families and friends joyfully sharing their athletic experiences ‘round Como Lake on a Christmas morning, many coming from faraway places like Arizona, California, Florida, and several foreign countries. I so enjoy seeing so many active, loving family-friends sharing happy-healthy walking/running activity on a special holiday.

So, check out the photos slideshow where you’ll see more “Miles of Smiles” evidencing the Power of RxExercise to cheer each of us even during these darkest days of the year, and even improve our relationships with loved ones who will walk and run by our sides.

Thanks to our professional announcer, Gaylen Morse of Morsound. And, thanks again and again to all the CC Race Event Workers (CCREW) volunteers who helped deliver the Christmas Day – Joyful 5k!

You’re welcome to join our CCREW for any of our 28 Annual CC Events in 2012

CCREW volunteers earn a variety of CCREWARDS for being so actively supportive of others’ RxExercise experiences. Go CCREW!

And, thanks to many of you who added a tax-deductible donation with your registration fee that will be used to continue CC’s RxExercise Training Programs, Educational & Training Services, complimentary CC Events’ entries, and new running shoes and gear for those in need. Lives are saved and improved every day with RxExercise.

If you choose to make a year end tax-deductible contribution to CC go to

Donations will be helping others to keep going, many of us to “keep going well beyond…” arthritis, cancer, diabetes, depression, heart disease, brain injuries and more, with the irreplaceable benefits of exercise, RxExercise.

Once again, thank you for actively supporting CC’s RxExercise Mission/Programs/Events, and for running or walking even on Christmas Day.

Next, please join us this Sunday on New Year’s Day for the 3rd Annual New Year’s Day - Hopeful 5k back at Como Lake

And, by registering this week, through the deadline of this Friday, Dec 30, for $180 you’re welcome to take advantage of the special $120+ savings on CC’s unique-in-America 2012 Holiday Run Series of 12 Holiday Run Events, running from this Sunday’s New Year’s Day – Hopeful 5k through all the beautiful Minnesota seasons of running to the next Christmas Day – Joyful 5k a year away. What a great way to be “Running through the Holidays” all year long!

Invite family/friends to join you in “Running through the 2012 Holiday” because “these are the days we’ll remember” all the more warmly because we ran and walked together.

And/or get on track at the 7th Annual New Year’s Challenge Resolutions Indoor Track Event at Bethel U offering a variety of races for athletes of all abilities and all ages, starting at 9 AM, Sunday, Jan 8. What fun starting out the New Year so actively and happily!

Merry Christmastime and an active Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year's Day - Hopeful 5k Invitation & More!

You’re invited to the 3rd Annual New Year’s Day - Hopeful 5k experience this Sunday, January 1, at Como Lake in St Paul, MN, 10 AM start time. This is the 1st of 12 Holiday Run Events produced by Charities Challenge in 2012 promoting and supporting RxExercise to improve health and fitness, and even happy-active relationships, especially on the Holidays.

You and your family & friends may pre-register online or by mail via

Pre-registration is $25 through the end of today, Monday, Dec 26; $30 Dec 27 – 30; and $40 race day is $40. Pre-register early and save!

Or go all the way in 2012 by pre-registering for CC’s Unique 2012 Holiday Run Series of 12 Run/Walk Events. Save $120+ from the cost of 12 individual entry fees. Learn more about the “2012 Running through the Holidays” Special Offer at

NOTE: This special reduced fees offer ends this Friday, December 30 and is Limited to the first 50 registrants.

We’re starting 2012 by “Celebrating Hope & Resolutions Success”!

Sunday’s Race Day Check-in for pre-registered, and race day registration, opens at 9 AM at the Como Lake’s beautiful lakeside promenade.

Enjoy starting the New Year with a healthful 5k and...

1. Colorful long sleeve commemorative Hopeful 5k shirt

2. Happy holiday motivating music & shout-out from announcer

3. Healthful tasty treats and a variety of hot beverages

4. Unique free-to-copy photos record and online slideshow

5. A warm welcome & services of CCREW Volunteers

For more inspiring “New Years Day - Hopeful 5k” Event information, printable mail-in entry form, online registration option, fun online slideshows of past Holiday Run Events, and even a “History of New Years Day”, go to

More CC Race Event Workers (CCREW) volunteers are welcome to join us in delivering another memorable Holiday Run Event. Actively serving and cheering thousands of others in CC Events as they fulfill their own RxExercise is another very rewarding hopeful resolution for 2012.

RSVP if you want to join our CCREW and earn CCREWARDS. What a truly hopeful gift you’ll be giving to so many others when volunteering as CCREW! Learn more about CCREW and its REWARDS at

Imagine! In 2011 several CCREW volunteer leaders earned expenses paid travel and memorable experiences to the Disney World Marathon in Florida, the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Virginia, and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.

CC is eager to send more CCREW volunteers and others to Great Ambassador Destination Events in 2012 training and traveling as RxExercise Ambassadors!

Join our CCREW volunteers and RxExercise Ambassadors and earn your place on at CC Traveling Team of RxExercise Ambassadors.

Visit our RxExercise Ambassadors Train ‘n’ Travel online page to find an inspiring goal event to which CC wants to send you as part of our CCREWARDS Program. Contact me, Coach Gary, by e-mail or phone to explore the opportunities to be inspired to reach for, and achieve, great goals via our RxExercise Ambassador & CCREW Volunteer Programs for 2012.

After racing our New Year’s Day 5k and our CCREW clean up the venue, please consider joining our CCREW volunteers at our CC post-race brunch at Ol’ Mexico Restaurant in Roseville (brunch is a CCREWARD for event management volunteers). We will celebrate together our successful events management work throughout 2011, and cheer one another in our own hopeful resolutions for 2012.

We’ll also be talking about how we each may be successful as RxExercise Ambassadors and earn a CC Team travel-expenses-paid place to Great Ambassador Destinations in 2012 to places like Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Washington D.C. and beyond.

Training and later traveling together as RxExercise Ambassadors makes for an especially motivating happy-hopeful 2012 resolution.

Join a CC RxExercise Ambassador Team today and travel tomorrow!

Happy New Year and Healthful-Hopeful Resolutions to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Day - Joyful 5k Invitation

You're invited to run, walk and/or volunteer at Charities Challenge’s last of 2011 and first of 2012 unique Holiday Run Events, both at Como Lake in St Paul, on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

This Sunday is the 6th Annual Christmas Day – Joyful 5k Experience at Como Lake in St Paul, MN. Start time 10 AM.

Next Sunday is the 3rd Annual New Years Day – Hopeful 5k Experience at Como Lake in St Paul, MN. Start time 10 AM.

The final-for-2011 CC Holiday Run Event’s theme is “A Celebration of Joy … Miracle Miles”, and is “The Biggest Christmas Day 5k in the USA”.

Throughout 2011 at CC’s RxExercise Events we celebrated the Power of RxExercise to improve the health and lives, and even relationships of thousands, especially improving the lives of so many of us who live well beyond our health challenges due to chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes, or accidental serious injuries.

Christmas Day is a day to celebrate all those “Miracle Miles” so many of us have walked and run together in 2011, and to encourage our loved ones to join us by coming alongside us on Christmas morning for a fun walk/run.

Give the gift of sharing some miles of smiles with family & friends, those who will be oh-so happier-healthier for their RxExercise and thereby even enjoy improved relationships in 2012.

If you're among the nearly 300 already pre-registered, Thank You! Perhaps you'll want to forward this invitation to more of your family & friends to join you, too.

Early Day-Before Check-In and in person Pre-registration option:

Check in the day before the race reduces the check-in lines on race day.

Early Check-In & Shirt and bib # pick-up is Saturday, Dec 24 from 10 AM to 3 PM at Black Bear Crossings Cafe inside the lakeside pavilion on Como Lake.

Sunday’s Race Day Check-in for pre-registered, and race day registration, opens at 9 AM at the beautiful lakeside pavilion on Como Lake, and then enjoy:

  1. 1. Long-sleeve commemorative shirt
  2. 2. Happy holiday motivating music and a shout-out from professional events announcer Gaylen Morse
  3. 3. Healthful tasty treats and a variety of hot beverages
  4. 4. Unique free-to-copy photos record and online slideshow
  5. 5. Miles of Smiles shared by families & friends Holiday Run

For more inspiring “Christmas Day – Joyful 5k” registration information, recent press release, printable colorful CD5k poster, online photos slideshows of past events, and even a great “History of Christmas”, go to

Any tax-deductible contributions added to your entry fee or sent separately will continue serving others’ RxExercise needs by supporting Charities Challenge year ‘round RxExercise Mission, Programs, Partnerships, Services and Events.

The Christmas Holiday Run Event has become for many of us a particularly fun, meaningful, and memorable Christmas Day’s Families & Friends Tradition of RxExercise, because “Brighter, Lighter Days & Miles of Smiles Come with Sharing Our RxExercise Every Day”.

We CC Race Event Worker (CCREW) volunteers look forward to seeing you at Como Lake on Christmas morning where together we’ll enjoy an active “Miracles Miles” morning.

More CCREW are always welcome to join us in delivering another Holiday Event this Sunday. RSVP if you want to join our rewarding experience as a CCREW volunteer. What a great active gift of volunteering you’ll be giving to so many others as a CCREW member!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Challenge Depression Indoor Track Races Report & Photos Slideshow

Thanks to all who were an active part of Charities Challenge's 7th Annual Challenge Depression Indoor Track Races – Taking Strong Steps to Defeat Depression Event, at Bethel University’s Sports & Recreation Center.

The same day as you race a CC Event timed/scored by our official timer, Josh Gerber, you may review race results at his web site

Enjoy photo memories of the racing and some Challenge Depression theme music while viewing the photos now available at

When you open the above web page, click first on the upper right title of the “12.4.11 Challenge Depression Indoor Track Races” item, then once the music starts playing click on “Slideshow” atop the page. 600 edited, select photos in the show at 1 second per image will take a little more than 10 minutes to view.

You may also slow down the 1 second per image speed by entering a 2 or 3 in “Duration”. Enjoy the photo memories!

You’re welcome to freely copy any photos from “Index” to your photo files, and then add them to your social media like Facebook.

Join Charities Challenge on Facebook while you’re there at FB

Well done to all the athletes, ages 6 to 72, who raced on Sunday. Brilliant! Especially brilliant because together we demonstrated again how athletic competition and camaraderie, on a darkening, cold winter’s day, is the Power of RxExercise to actively “Challenge Depression”.

In addition to our event management professional, Josh Gerber, an additional truly happy “THANKS” to 6 CC Race Event Workers (CCREW) volunteers and three USATF/MN officials who helped produce this CC Indoor Track Event:

USATF Certified Officials:

(Superior) Starter, Dave Daubert, Rick Recker, Gary Westlund

CC Race Event Worker (CCREW) Volunteers:

Jeanne DeMartino - Announcer

Don Soule – Timing Assistant & More

Meredith Soule – Head Registrar

Ken Wendling – Facilities & Equipment Manager

Lynn Schwartz – Food & Beverage Hospitality

Marika Metaitis – Multi-tasker extraordinaire

Kim Fealey – Lap Counter

And, thanks to several athletes who helped when you weren’t racing!

You’re welcome to join our CCREW for any of our 28 Annual CC Events. Just let me know. You’ll also earn a variety of CCREW Rewards for being so actively supportive of others’ RxExercise experiences. Learn more about CC’s CCREW Program at the CC web site. Go CCREW!

After reviewing the race results, photos slideshow, and your own memories of Sunday on the track, please consider sending to me any highlight experiences you want me and perhaps others to read in my RxExercise blog.

One of my highlights was seeing friends and fellow athletes, Don Wright & Don Dornfeld, both gentlemen athletes who are not stopped by their cancer challenges.

Another of my highlights was a racing friend who stepped up near the end of the morning’s races to report with a smile, “And, today I’m not depressed”. Neither was I depressed on that good-busy Sunday morning with you all seeing so many racing and smiling and laughing! I’m encouraged by others’ stories of how their RxExercise is helping them meet life’s sometimes depressing challenges.

And, we saw the largest field of athletes ever for our Challenge Depression Indoor Track Races, 82 participants, producing 57 New Challenge Depression Records and 33 New All-Time All-Challenge Indoor Events Records!

Oh, there were so many highlights! So, please send me your highlights of especially memorable moments and experiences on the track last Sunday.

Stay active to the end of the year by running CC’s last two events of 2011:

Sunday, Dec 18, for the Challenge Courage Indoor Track Races back at Bethel U

Saturday, December 25, for the 6th Annual Christmas Day – Joyful 5k, the Biggest Christmas Day 5k in the USA!

We’re continuing to challenge wintertime depression and isolation, both our own and others’ wintertime challenges, by taking it on actively and in concert with others. Well done each and all!

Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmastime, indoors and out, with fun-fit family & friends!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CC's Unique Wintertime Indoor Track Challenge Series begins Sunday, Dec 4

Charities Challenge’s unique-in-Minnesota Wintertime Indoor Track Challenge Series begins this Sunday morning, December 4, at Bethel University in Arden Hills. Doors open at 8 AM and the first race starts at 9 AM.

Come in from the cold for a warm reception and hot racing times at CC’s 7th Annual Challenge Depression Indoor Track Races, the 1st of 5 Indoor Track Challenge Events. For more information and registration options go to

Now is your time to "Get & Stay on Track" all winter long with CC’s unique Challenge Series of 5 Indoor Track Events at Bethel U's outstanding indoor track.

So, you’re also invited to be among those “Taking on All Challenges”, all 5 Indoor Events, with just one entry fee, and save $25 on the Indoor Track Series that will keep you training and racing faster through a Minnesota winter.

That’s 5 Indoor Track “Taking on All Challenges” Events for just $85 total! This reduced entry fees offer is limited to the first 50 registrants for the winter-long series and closes at Midnight on Thursday, Dec 1. (26 openings remain as of 4 AM today.)

To take advantage of this special reduced rate for “Taking on All Challenges” go to

There will be challenging athletic competitions and fast-fun for athletes of all ages and athletic abilities.

There will be a variety of sprints, mid-distance, and distance events, 60m to 5000m, and a separate judged 1500m race walk. Enter each or all events for one low entry fee.

Perhaps you can set a racing record at this year’s Challenge Depression races, and even take a shot at setting an All-Time record for the Event, or even a record for the entire All-Time All-Indoor Challenge Events Series.

Professional Fully Automated Timing (F.A.T. ) will again be provided by Josh Gerber of and CC Race Event Worker (CCREW) volunteers will be serving athletes from ages 5 to 75. Join our CCREW volunteers anytime you’re not racing to be more motivated and CC-REWARDED.

Volunteering as a CCREW Member in active support of others’ athletic pursuits, especially when we may happen to be injured or unable to race, is a superior therapy for battling depression and wintertime blues. So, please RSVP with me, Coach Gary, when you’re ready to CCREW; and, you’ll be CC-REWARDED.


What’s that about RxExercise vs. Depression?

Reaching for worthy goals for which one must train diligently is highly related to beating depression and avoiding wintertime blues. Go for a record of your own!

Each CC Challenge Event highlights the Power of RxExercise (exercise as medicine) in improving the quality of life for many of us challenged with any of a variety of chronic health challenges, challenges like arthritis, cancer, diabetes or depression.

CC’s Challenge Depression – Celebrating Happiness Event is a day to especially celebrate the power of RxExercise to brighten and lighten many of our lives challenged by mild-to-moderate depression. The occasion for happy social interactions is also a highlight of CC’s wintertime warm-welcoming indoor track events.

Come cheer on one another in our training and racing to better mental health and improved relationship through appropriate RxExercise Sunday morning at Bethel U. Now, that’s the way to actively lift one another’s spirits during the Holiday Season!