An Engagement at the Finish Line
In 2018, as Robert Lopez was entering the final stretch of the Cupid’s Chase 5k in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he had more than a medal waiting for him at the finish line. Robert was planning on proposing to his girlfriend, Kiana, who was volunteering at the event as part of her nursing program.
“I worked with Community Options’ staff and volunteers to ensure that Kiana would be stationed at the finishing line,” said Robert. “I was pretty nervous but had faith that my plan would work out. I wore a ‘will you marry me?’ t-shirt and hoped she would check the box that read ‘yes’.”
Robert and Kiana’s first date was on Valentine’s Day six years prior. So, when Robert heard about the Cupid themed event, he knew it was meant to be.
Kiana checked ‘yes’. In November of 2020 they had their wedding near the race site. Now, they’re expecting to welcome in a third member to their family.
“I hope to continue to run in Cupid’s Chase 5k every year,” said Robert. “Family traditions are important, and I’d love to make the 5k one of ours.”
Robert and Kiana will be at the Old Mesilla Plaza for Las Cruces’ 2022 race even if Kiana can’t compete.
“I’m a big supporter of people with disabilities,” said Lopez. “I have several cousins who have developmental disabilities so I’m happy to support Community Options. Their cause is essential.”
14 Years Chasing Cupid
2022 is year 14 of the Cupid’s Chase 5k Series. What began in Princeton, NJ in 2009 as a single event, has grown into one of the most recognizable 5k series across the country.
This year races will be held in 34 cities on Saturday, February 12. After a limited turnout in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2022 series is on pace to have over 5,000 participants and raise more than $400,000. Registration for any of the 34 runs in the series can be completed at cupidschase.org.
A Strong Core in South Carolina
Heading into its eighth year, Cupid’s Chase 5k in Summerville, SC has become one of the series’ most successful events. Much of that success is attributable to Rusty Griffith, who has been the Summerville Cupid’s Chase chair since 2018.
Since taking on the role, Rusty’s made Cupid’s Chase the premier 5k race in the Charleston area. Rusty’s creative ideas to increase runner participation are lauded by his peers.
Last year, Rusty personally asked Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg to attend the event and fire the starting gun. A local celebrity presence drew 100 runners Mayor Tecklenburg confirmed that he will return to start the 2022 race.
Cupid’s Chase Moves to Randall’s Island in New York City
Previously held at Riverside Park, the 2022 NYC Cupid’s Chase has moved to historic Randall’s Island. Randall’s Island has breathtaking city views, is a hub for international and regional sports competitions and attracts athletes from all boroughs.
“The start and finish are next to Icahn Stadium where professional track athletes, including para-athletes, compete. . That is what I love about running. It brings people together,” said Brendan Dagan, Founder of EliteFeats Running Company. “The Cupid’s Chase races have a spirit of inclusivity and it is an honor being part of them.”
“When I first started with Dollar Bank, I looked at my client list and from the beginning Community Options’ mission stood out. I have been the race chair in Pittsburgh, where the event is held in PNC Park, for three years. Cupid’s Chase draws attention to an important issue: inclusion. I’m happy to say that this year Dollar Bank is contributing $10,000 to the event.”
Team Building in Austin
Ricardo Ortega serves as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Tarrytown Expocare, a pharmacy specializing in long-term care. Since 2017, his team has used the Austin Cupid’s Chase race to build workplace comradery.
“We have a large team and Cupid’s Chase in Austin is right in our backyard so it’s easy to spread the word. The team is always happy to get out of the office and bond in a less formal setting,” said Ricardo. “Team building is so important for any professional work environment and I’m happy that in this case we also benefitting the community. Cupid’s Chase is a great event”
Ricardo believes in the power of visiting and supporting the people with disabilities that his company serves. People with disabilities benefit significantly from allies like Ricardo and Tarrytown.
SAVE THE DATE
Saturday, February 12, 2022
New York City
Salt Lake City
Special Edition: Cupid’s Chase