Perspectives from the Trail: The Miles that Counted Most
About the Presentation
Since 2003, the Sole Mates Marathon Team has brought together a diverse group of individuals to run long-distance races around the world. Over the course of 20 years, this team has competed in events in 12 different countries, across four continents and raised more than $1 million to support Challenge Aspen, a non-profit dedicated to creating possibilities for people with disabilities through year-round adaptive recreational programs and activities. Challenge Aspen’s programming encourages participation in activities that redefine limits, recognize abilities, and transfer newfound courage to everyday life; this team is rooted in the same ideals. Hear four runners’ experiences training, traveling and fundraising for Challenge Aspen and find out why it’s about more than just the miles.
About the Speakers
Katie Grange has made Snowmass Village her home for the past 42 years. She lives with her son, Max Grange (aka Big Air Max), who has been a participant in Challenge Aspen since the inception of the program. Katie advocates for people with disabilities and has served on various boards/councils throughout the State of Colorado. She works locally for Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty where she’s specialized in the Snowmass Village market since 1984. Her first Challenge Aspen Ultra Run was this October in Italy where she was completed the 18k. Katie runs for Max to raise awareness and to support this life changing program and she can often be found playing in the mountains–mountain biking, trail running, hiking, skinning and skiing. Cara Haugan came to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1986 from southern California to experience a change of seasons. She has worked for Alpine Bank for the past 25 years, an organization that encourages their employees to get involved with local non-profit organizations. She has run 6 races with the Challenge Aspen Sole Mates. She keeps coming back year after year because the people on the team are so supportive of each other and all share a commitment to Challenge Aspen’s amazing programs. Olivia Niosi first joined Challenge Aspen in 2021 as an Adaptive Assistant to immerse herself in the opportunity to serve individuals with disabilities. She joined the Sole Mates marathon team claiming “I’m not a runner” and discovered a personal love and natural comfort in long distance running. She now works as an adaptive instructor in the winter months and spends her summers as a ranger for Pitkin County Open Space & Trails. In 2007, Jason Hodges left Charleston SC, and moved to Carbondale for a better quality of life. With his new found free time, he quickly got involved with many of the valley’s nonprofits. He’s run six Challenge Aspen marathons, and is currently the Vice President of 3 local organizations. He spends his time selling real estate, traveling with his husband, Marcelo, and relaxing with their dog and two cats. The Challenge Aspen crew has become his second family, and he looks forward to participating in all of their events throughout the year.
Moderated by Jenni Petersen: Jenni’s first Sole Mates marathon was in Maui in 2005. Since then she’s taken over the leadership role of planning and organizing the most epic annual marathon trips. She also happens to be Challenge Aspen’s CFO and a key staff member for 18 years.