On Jan. 16, nearly 330 Team Ewing runners participated in the 2011 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon in Tempe, Ariz., the largest group the team has had in its seven years in the race.
Team Ewing won first place in the GET FIT Challenge Corporate Large Division in this year’s race—a friendly competition designed to get companies to train together. Close to 200 Ewing employees ran the race, joined by family members, friends, and Ewing customers and vendor representatives.
On the eve of the race, Team Ewing runners received some encouraging words from Matt Long, a 17-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, a Sept. 11 first responder and a marathoner and Ironman triathlete. In December of 2005, Long was run over by a charter bus and given a five percent chance of survival.
“If you don’t challenge yourself in life, you exist the way I did (after the accident). I was about 130 pounds, I was depressed and I wasn’t setting goals for life. I wasn’t trying to move forward,” he said.
After a difficult recovery, Long has since completed the New York City marathon, an Ironman triathlon, and founded the I Will Foundation, which coaches, trains and financially supports athletes overcoming the challenges of illness and traumatic injury.
He reminded runners to trust in their training efforts and of the importance of a supportive team.
Once again, Team Ewing runners collected donations for Autism Speaks, and with a generous Ewing contribution, a total of $25,000 was raised for the organization. During the past three years, Team Ewing has raised a total of $100,000 for Autism Speaks.
Amy Hummell, Arizona director of Autism Speaks, thanked the team for their dedication and encouraged them to share the resources that Autism Speaks has with others; including the 100 Day Kit, which offers tips to assist families during the first 100 days following their child’s diagnosis of autism.
Ewing’s annual participation in the race is based on the company’s belief that health is the first wealth.“We’re very excited to have a room full of people that are committed to that,” said Doug York, Ewing’s president and half marathon participant, to the runners. “We’re excited to sponsor all of you, to commit our resources to get you here, and hopefully help you make your lives better in the long run.”
Cliff Woodbury, vice president of marketing and communications for Ewing, said the event brings employees and families together from across the country to have fun, increase their fitness, build company camaraderie and support Autism Speaks.
“It’s a real win-win-win, all around,” Woodbury said.He issued a challenge to encourage more employees to train for the 2012 marathon. This year 17 Team Ewing runners completed the 26.2-mile marathon.“I had my personal best today,” said Warren Gorowitz, vice president of sustainability and conservation for Ewing, who finished the marathon in 4:12:44. “It was amazing weather in an amazing city, and I work for an amazing company.”