Exceeding Expectations – Fall Doings


October is one of my favorite months with the Exceeding Expectations kids.

 As you all know, our top priority for the kids is, and always will be, education. That said, every October we participate in two athletic events that I feel are significant in laying the groundwork necessary for them to be successful in the academic world and in their adult lives.

 The first of these events is the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) triathlon, aptly called “The Best Day in Triathlon.” Here’s a brief overview from their website:

 “In 1994, three friends started a triathlon fundraiser to help one man regain his independence after a tragic accident left him a quadriplegic. From one came many, and Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) took root in the belief that sports and an active lifestyle are a pathway to more in life. Since that fundraiser 25 years ago, CAF has been committed to breaking the financial barrier that individuals with physical challenges face to participate in sports and live a healthy and active lifestyle.

 Participating alongside challenged athletes in a very tough race gives our kids an additional perspective on their own lives. The racers on the course with them face obstacles that they will have for a lifetime. Our kids live with challenges today that they can change, if they’re willing to work as hard as these athletes will the rest of their lives. And our kids seem to “get it.”

 It’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to work on their social skills. When a kid joins EE, one of the first things he learns is that he’ll be meeting a lot of adults. And when he does, he must look them in the eye, shake hands and introduce himself. This is not something these kids are taught at home, but we work very hard on it with them. And I was so very proud of each of them as they stepped up and met new people at CAF.

Challenged IRONMAN pioneer Carlos Moleda

L.A. Lakers star Bill Walton

Andrew meets IRONMAN legend Julie Moss

 Mike “Voice of IRONMAN” Reilly

It should not go unnoticed that Ricardo, Richard, Ahris and Andrew were 4 of the top runners of the day and Karen, doing her first CAF event, also had a very good run on this very challenging course.

 And what made the weekend even more special was the involvement of three older EE members:

  •  Nik Keller (UCSD 2012) drove a group of kids and stayed in the hotel room with the 4 boys, then took them all to the beach, which probably warrants him a medal of some sort!
  •  Isi (UC Riverside junior) spent the entire weekend with us and ran with her younger sister, Karen.
  •  Marlene (UCSD 2016 and new mom), along with her husband, Hilario, joined us for dinner at the home of our old friends and EE supporters, David and Lorena Brenner.

Unknown-7Unknown-8The following weekend we were out here in Palm Springs for the Tram Road Challenge. This is a running race up a hill that rises 2,643 feet over 3.7 miles – a real killer. We had 33 runners age 9 – 17, as well as Nik, Isi, Archi and a few brave parents. Ricardo (15) placed 3rd overall, Richard (10) placed 4th  overall and Ahris (9) took 7thoverall.  You gotta wonder how some of these hot-shot 20- and 30-year-old guys felt seeing these mighty-mites blasting ahead of them!

Richard and Ahris


What I love about the kids doing this race is that the climb is so tough it requires a very strong, positive mind and a “never-quit” attitude. As I watched those representing EE come over the finish line, one by one exceeding expectations, I felt very proud.

Unknown-12Every time an EE member succeeds, on the playing field or in the classroom, it’s a reflection of sponsors like Boingo and their commitment to, and support of, the kids. We thank you Boingo for helping us get this far. We have a lot more work to do. Coming up on our agenda is a busy December, including the Tinsel Tri and Santa Paws and ending up with our annual Awards and Scholarships holiday party. Stay tuned.

One last thing: If you’ve got some Amazon shopping to do, don’t put it off! As many of you know, by logging on to smile.amazon.com/ch/20-4227809 instead of amazon-dot-com, you get exactly the same prices as you always do and EE gets 0.5 %.

 But, now through Nov 2, AmazonSmile will donate a whopping 5%, ten times the usual amount. It costs you absolutely nothing and will help out the kids. So do some early holiday shopping!

About Cherie

Cherie Gruenfeld, Boingo's official butt-kicker, is an Ironman age group champion and world record holder. She is a grand masters triathlete — a sport in which she didn't even start competing in until her 40s — proving that top fitness is achievable at any age. She has raced in more than 25 Ironman triathlons, has 18 wins overall, and has won her age group at the Ironman World Championships a whopping 13 times. She's also an incredible fitness coach with great insights on goal setting and fitness on the road. Have a question for Cherie? Email her at askcherie@boingo.com. You can also learn more about her non-profit organization, Exceeding Expectations on Facebook.
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