Running for Dylan, Changing the world

May 22, 2015

 

The third Cape Cod Ragnar Relay for Dylan’s Wings of Change raised more funds—and spread more joy—than ever before.

 

The weekend of May 8 and 9, 2015, Dylan’s Wings of Change proudly returned to Cape Cod for its third appearance at the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay. With a record-breaking 9 teams running 189 miles each for Dylan, more than 120 runners and drivers for Dylan’s Wings embraced hope and worked together to raise more than $75,000 in donations for the organization’s Sports Grants and Wingman programs.

 

All of Dylan’s teams brought veterans and rookies together for a phenomenal and unforgettable experience. From our teams adorned in purple driving brightly decorated vans—to our two “ultra” teams that completed the course in less than 26 hours—this year’s Cape Cod Ragnar once again exceeded all expectations for having fun, doing good, and honoring a very special little boy.

 

The story behind Dylan’s Wings’ involvement in the Cape Cod Ragnar goes back to February, 2013—when a team of runners and martial artists from Extreme Fitness in Newtown came together to train for the event. Calling themselves Dylan’s Wings of Change, the team pronounced they were “Running for Dylan”—thus establishing a commitment to training hard and supporting the newly created Dylan Hockley Memorial Fund through road-race events. Despite their passion for fitness, no team member had ever tackled an overnight relay the likes of Ragnar, and all were unprepared for the exhaustion, emotion and intensity of the event.

 

Through the generosity of friends, strangers and corporations that first year, Dylan’s Ragnar team raised an amazing $25,000. In that spirit, the Hockley family formally named their son’s foundation “Dylan’s Wings of Change,” honing its focus on new technologies, inclusive sports programs and research grants that together would enable children with autism and related conditions to reach their full potential.

 

By 2014, the virtuous circle was growing; the Dylan’s Wings foundation fielded five teams—over 60 people—in that year’s Cape Cod Ragnar. Veteran runners returned, joined by many new recruits. Some new members had never before run more than a 5K, but proudly achieved 12 or more miles at the event. Even as logistics and training grew more complicated, this expanding group of neighbors and friends managed to recapture and amplify the team spirit and feeling from the previous year.

 

That same year, due expressly to the momentum and fundraising achieved at the 2014 Cape Cod Ragnar, Dylan’s Wings of Change was able to make its first grants to support inclusive sports programs in Connecticut and Philadelphia. The foundation was also able to develop and leverage contacts across many sporting areas that serve children with autism and related conditions. The relationship with the New York Marathon in particular continued to grow, with 11 entrants in the 2014 race drawn from all over New England (and even one runner from San Diego).

 

The funds raised by this year’s Cape Cod Ragnar participation will go toward expanding the popular Wingman program into more schools and community organizations, as well as to fund grants to other organizations nationwide that help children with autism and related conditions reach their full potential. To lend your support for their programs, click here.

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