MINNEAPOLIS, May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Marathon runner Steve Knowlton, 47, of Prior Lake, Minn., is attempting to set a Guinness World Record by running 3,100 miles from San Francisco to New York in 45 days.
He hopes his run, which started May 18, will raise awareness for autism and Asperger's syndrome, and has partnered with ANSWER, Asperger's Network Support, GreenSneakers and Koko FitClub to raise money for those affected.
"This run is bigger than me – I want it to bring awareness to autism and Asperger's, which has affected someone very dear to me, and to draw attention to GreenSneakers, whose mission helps give shoes to the neediest people in the world," said Knowlton, who's now completed the most mountainous leg of his journey. "As a runner, I am acutely aware of the environment and our need as a country to protect our resources by recycling and reusing what we can."
"We are humbled that Steve is using this incredible feat to shine the light on autism and Asperger's syndrome and help us strengthen communities through understanding, inclusion and support for those affected," said ANSWER Director Theresa Namie. "Almost everyone knows someone with Asperger's, often without even realizing it. We want to foster a better understanding of the difficulties and complexities associated with these disabilities."
Throughout the 45-day run, Koko FitClub locations nationwide will collect used sneakers for GreenSneakers, which provides shoes that would otherwise end up in a landfill, as affordable footwear to impoverished communities worldwide. GreenSneakers will give ANSWER 50 cents per pound for sneakers donated toward Knowlton's effort.
Knowlton, who has been strength training for his run at the Savage, Minn. Koko FitClub, inspired the chain to become involved nationally. The state-of-the-art workout centers, known for the patented Smartraining automated personal training system, will accept donations from members and non-members and send them to GreenSneakers.
About Steve Knowlton
Steve Knowlton lives and grew up in Prior Lake, MN, where he was inspired as an eighth-grader by Peter Jenkins' "Walk Across America." His mother nurtured his spiritual strength, and at 13 his father encouraged him to run Grandma's Marathon with him in Duluth. Steve was the youngest runner to finish the race. In 2010 he ran from Seattle to Key Largo, 3,717 miles in 100 days. For more information, go to www.stevesrun.com.
ANSWER's mission is to create a network that advocates for community awareness, furthering research, bettering education and support of individuals and families living with autism and Asperger's Syndrome. The 501c3 nonprofit organization serves as an informational channel where ideas and resources are shared utilizing public relations, the internet and parenting networking. ANSWER supports training for educators in the areas of social skills, daily living skills, relaxation, and transitional skills. ANSWER offers a holistic approach – from diagnosis to independent living – by making resources available and advocating for affordable intervention and support programs. For more information, go to www.aspergersmn.org, or www.facebook.com/answerMN.
About Koko FitClub
Koko FitClub first opened in Boston in 2008 as an efficient, lean-muscle-building alternative to traditional gyms and today has more than 120 company-owned and franchise FitClubs in 30 states. Its name, Koko, inspired by the Japanese word for individual, refers to Koko FitClub's fully customized fitness and nutrition programs that make up the patented Koko Smartraining System. The Smartraining System is automated personal strength and cardio training, offering the benefits of a 90-minute workout in just 30 minutes, combined with Koko Fuel, the program's integrated nutritional component. In 2012, the company received a Franchise Business Review Franchisee Satisfaction Award and this year was named to the 2013 Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500. For more information, go to www.KokoFitClub.com, www.youtube.com/user/KokoFitClubChannel or www.facebook.com/KokoFitClub.
GreenSneakers is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the needs of other nonprofit organizations as they work to offset the costs associated with various organizational development needs. By collecting used tennis shoes for GreenSneakers, nonprofits can raise funds to put toward fulfilling their mission and vision. The program provides organizations with a uniquely effective and environmentally friendly fundraising opportunity that has local and global impacts. With a collection of sneakers for reuse, nonprofits help provide affordable footwear to people in need around the world. This activity greatly improves economic conditions in developing nations, as well, and provides sustainable job opportunities where they otherwise would not exist. In cases of humanitarian need, collected sneakers are distributed through reputable relief agencies that have the appropriate mechanisms in place to effectively engage in this type of aide. For more information, go to www.GreenSneakers.org.