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Midwest 5 Marathon Challenge

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I am one of the five co-founders of myTEAM TRIUMPH, Inc.; a non-profit organization that provides racing opportunities for people with disabilities. When we originally started this organization in Grand Rapids, MI in 2008, we drew inspiration from many of our life experiences. My personal inspiration was drawn from my experience as a Physical Therapist and my desire to compete as an athlete after my first Ironman in Wisconsin in 2007. The success attained in our first year of operation inspired us to develop a chapter model in 2009. I am the current President and Executive Director of the West Michigan Chapter. We have more than 30 chapters across the USA with 1 in Canada and 1 in the Netherlands.

One of the first Captains to race with us in 2008 was a then young 11-year old boy named Matt Smith. Matt is one of triplets and was born with cerebral palsy. However this did not detract form his lust for life and adventure, and soon he became a regular Captain on our race schedule. He has since competed in over 20 races with us as his Angels. Matt serves tirelessly in his community as a Captain and spokesperson for our organization. His inspiration to the local endurance community was recognized in 2012 when he was presented with the AIM High Moving People Forward award. Since then, he has also received his Eagle Scout honors and most recently the Congressional Medal of Merit as he continues to inspire his community.

Two years ago, while I was pushing Matt through a local 25K race, he expressed a desire to participate in the Boston Marathon – more as an expression of a dream rather than thinking he would actually be allowed to compete in it. A few conversations later, Matt and I were starting to think that this could become a reality. However we soon found out that the Boston Marathon was harder to get into than we expected as they allow very few chairs to be pushed through the course.

Not to let a "NO" stop us, over the past couple of weeks, Matt & I have come up with our own quest! We are calling it the Midwest 5 Marathon Challenge. It’s where we set out on an adventure to participate in 5 keys marathons in the midwest in 2015. We have identified the 5 states that we would like to participate in this year as: Ohio (Glass City Marathon), Wisconsin (Green Bay Marathon), Indiana (Sunburst Marathon), Illinois (Fox Valley Marathon) & Michigan (Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon).  We will use this opportunity to raise awareness for people with disabilities, promote an active lifestyle, inspire others to run with us, and change our communities one kind act at a time. I know this would also mean the world to Matt as he graduates from high school this year and starts his own new quest at at local university. Thank you for supporting us on this adventure.

You can also find more details about us on our website at or on Facebook at


  • Melissa Larson
    • $50 
    • 9 yrs


Terence Reuben
Grand Rapids, MI

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