Challenged Athletes Foundation Joins In Motion Events for the First Official Inclusive Kids Marathon Mile at LEGOLAND® California Resort
Hundreds of kids of all abilities will run, roll, and stroll together through LEGOLAND® California Resort before the park opens to guests
Press Release by: Christy Fritts
Celebrating its 30th anniversary of empowering individuals through sports, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has partnered with, Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation, and In Motion Events to present the first official inclusive Kids Marathon Mile on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at LEGOLAND® California Resort. Hundreds of children with and without physical disabilities will race one mile together through LEGOLAND® California as part of the Carlsbad Marathon race weekend. The new addition of an adaptive wave start embraces the spirit of inclusivity ensuring that no child is left on the sidelines. In collaboration with Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation, CAF is proud to bring this unique and exclusive opportunity for participants to enjoy at LEGOLAND® California.
“Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation provides magical experiences for children all over the world who are facing adversity,” said Merlin Entertainments Spokesperson Julie Estrada. “We are proud to offer a Magical Day out to CAF families so they can enjoy all that LEGOLAND California Resort has to offer and build cherished memories together they’ll never forget!”
CAF Ambassador Rudy Garcia-Tolson will commence the event with a motivational message to participants emphasizing that every child has the potential for greatness. Garcia-Tolson began his running journey as a youth athlete at this same race when it was formerly known as the Carlsbad Kids Marathon Mile. Now 35-years-old, he has since developed an impressive athletic resume’, having won five Paralympic medals (two gold, two silver, and one bronze), becoming the first person with a double bi-lateral above-knee amputation to finish an IRONMAN triathlon, and competing in multiple world championships for track, triathlon, and swimming. His accomplishments have earned him the spotlight as the featured athlete on this month’s cover of Men’s Health magazine.
“Rudy’s incredible journey from the Kids Marathon Mile to becoming a Paralympic athlete is a testament to the transformative power of sports,” said Bob Babbitt, CAF Co-founder. “His story of perseverance, achievement, and mentorship is an inspiration to the next generation.”
Joining Rudy will be more than 20 kids with physical disabilities running on prosthetics or racing in their wheelchairs alongside the hundreds (or thousands) of kids enjoying the annual fun run. This non-competitive and family-friendly event is designed to promote healthy living and active lifestyles.
CAF has been a catalyst for thousands of people with physical disabilities to redefine themselves through sport. Guided by a shared vision, CAF’s athletes, generous supporters, and like-minded partners have worked together to propel this movement forward, changing lives, breaking barriers, and igniting futures. Since 1994, CAF has raised over $159 million, funding 44,000 grant requests from individuals in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, across 73 countries, and in 105 different sports.
“The finish line represents more than just the completion of a race; it symbolizes the triumph of inclusivity, determination, and celebrating athletic spirit,” expressed Christine Adams, CEO of In Motion Events. “As we host our first event of 2024, I’m proud of the steps we’re taking alongside amazing organizations like CAF to create unique opportunities to include more people of diverse abilities in our races.”