Team Chances raises money, awareness for kid's nutrition, PE - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Team Chances raises money, awareness for kid's nutrition, PE

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Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:00 pm | Updated: 3:40 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

Brad Rogers' mug was sporting the colors of his beloved Texas Christian University.

And he wasn't a face painter attending a Horned Frogs game.

He was running.

For more than 90 feet as he was accustomed to in his baseball career.

It wasn't pretty.

"It was my first run and I was supposed to run 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back," Rogers said. "I went four minutes and four minutes, and I was gasping for air. My face was half purple.

"I thought there was no way this body can run that far."

And yet seven months later, Rogers has a medal from the New York City Marathon to prove he can go 26.2 miles.

And now, the athletic trainer is hooked. He ran 8 miles the other morning and continues to pound the pavement.

"Why not? I have the endurance and it has helped me find a new science in training," said Rogers, who is owner The BAR Fitness in Ahwatukee Foothills. "It has made me re-think the way I train everyone."

Rogers' accomplishment is personal, but it reaches so much more. He took on the goal of running the NYC marathon as part of Team Chance, which is led by training coach Susan Loken.

The team of 20 runners, including 13 from Ahwatukee, raised more than $120,000 for the Arizona chapter of Chances for Children. Ahwatukee resident Bill Andrew raised the most among the group, totaling $16,247.

"Our team understands that success alone is empty, but success that makes a difference ...," Loken said. "Now that makes a difference."

It all goes toward Chances for Children, which is committed to improving quality of life by supporting programs that provide access to sports, physical education and character education for youths.

They provide fitness training, nutritional programs and educational services for schools throughout Arizona.

"I can't believe we did this as a team," said Rogers, who raised enough money ($11,000) that his wife, Tracie, could also runs in the marathon. "It gives some kids an opportunity to get access to sports that they might not get otherwise. It's a tremendous cause."

Chances for Children was founded on the belief that in life everyone deserves a chance for opportunity. Research shows that diet and exercise promote a balanced well-being, resulting in positive life achievements.

That belief is similar to the stories behind each individual of the Team Chance.

Michelle Propps, an Ahwatukee resident, had run in a half-marathon previously, but making the jump to a full marathon is something different.

The elementary school teacher had a special motivation other than helping the charity as she got a chance to return home. Her parents are from Brooklyn, she was born in Queens, and she lived in Long Island.

"Coming over the bridge and heading into Queens I felt like I was floating on air," she said. "They talk about the runner's high and I definitely found that. The support surrounding the course carries you through the 26 miles."

Propps was an athlete growing up and coached volleyball in her free time, so she felt helping out with Team Chances was the perfect combination.

"Being a teacher and involved with children I see how important nutrition is and there is a soft spot in my heart," she said. "If we could get some help to kids and teach them about nutrition at an early age it can only help them down the line."

And then maybe they won't get purpled-faced like Rogers.

"Being a trainer does not mean you are in tip-top shape, especially when it comes to cardio," he said. "I felt like I was powerful enough to run through a wall, but I didn't know what it meant to really be in shape until I did this. It makes me wonder what I could have done my career if I was actually in the physical condition I am in now."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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