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A Call to Action

Augie's Quest

To help fight a disease that destroys muscles, Augie’s Quest and health club partners are asking the industry to build them.

On October 8, 2016, dozens of health club operators and members will pound their feet to the pavement at the Brooklyn, New York Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. These participants aren’t just running for purely fitness-related reasons. Instead, they are running on behalf of Team Quest4ALS.

Their mission? To raise money in hopes of finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Organized by Augie’s Quest, this is the first year Team Quest4ALS will hit the pavement for an endurance event, and the group is asking health club operators from around the nation to join them.

“I’d like people to know that this is the perfect opportunity for people who want to help find a cure for ALS to participate in an endurance event, and a half marathon is a great entry point for those who are intimidated by a full marathon,” said Augie Nieto, the founder of Augie’s Quest, who was diagnosed with ALS in March 2005. “Even better, our supporting clubs will help new, as well as experienced, runners train effectively. So it’s a great opportunity to help us find a cure for ALS, and get first-class training to finish a half marathon.

To become a Team Quest4ALS training site, clubs must pledge to recruit at least 10 members to run in the half marathon. Each club and member that participates will help Augie’s Quest reach its goal of raising $1 million for ALS research through the Team Quest4ALS program.

“Hitting our goal would mean that our lab would have the funds to move the most exciting drug compound we have seen in ALS to human trials,” said Nieto. “It would be a big deal for the ALS community and give thousands fighting ALS hope.”

Paula Neubert, the general manager of Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Denver, Colorado, heard about Team Quest4ALS a few months ago, and knew right away she wanted to get involved. The club is hoping to send 60 runners.

“We have invited other clubs in Colorado to join us, not to run as Greenwood, but to run as the Colorado Team Quest4ALS,” said Neubert. “We want to show up ‘Colorado Strong’ and run for those who can’t walk. Our staff at Greenwood have been completely committed to helping us get the word out and enlist as many runners as possible.”

The Atlantic Club is participating as well, in addition to Newtown Athletic Club, Chelsea Piers and a number of others.

Kevin McHugh, the COO of The Atlantic Club, hopes that altogether the industry can rally 500 runners. “We can make a difference if we all work together as one,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the club owner to make a difference in their community, without having to make a major financial contribution out of their pocket.”

To participate either as an individual or club team, visit classy.org/teamquest or email augiesquest@als.net.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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