May 23rd & 24th - Virtual 24 Hour Ultra
Hi! I’m Sarah, one of the Senior RUN Coordinators hear at OAR. Growing up I played a lot of sports and traveled all over to watch my mom run marathons. I’d help decorate her marathon shirts with her name and we’d find her on the course to give her high fives. I thought she was a pro athlete and I wanted to be just like her! We ran small 5K’s together when I was young and eventually worked our way up to my first marathon at the age of 17 (it snowed, ugh!). We’ve run countless half marathons and many marathons together including the Marine Corps Marathon and the Boston Marathon. I’m always up for a new fitness challenge, whether it be running an ultramarathon or a pushup contest!
Working at OAR the last 3 plus years I have met so many amazing families, friends and professionals that know someone on the spectrum. The stories they have about why they run and fundraise for OAR is inspiring and really motivates me! Last fall I ran the Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon and NYC Marathon with all three RUN FOR AUTISM team’s and it was the most fun I’ve had out on a race course. I’m proud to say that I’m a part of the RUN FOR AUTISM program and I’m always excited to run with my OAR singlet on!
Favorite Race: Tough question, but Big Sur Marathon has to be my favorite because the scenery is unbelievable!
Favorite post-race food/drink: Donuts! After the donuts, a bacon cheeseburger, fries and cold beer!
May 30th & 31st
I’ve been running on and off (mostly off) since high school, but started running seriously about 7 years ago. What started off as just something to “lose weight” (I was at that age where I would gain weight just looking at a cookie!), quickly turned into a realization that “I am enough”. Running has given me the strength and knowledge that I can do hard things and get through hard times. I’m so grateful that I am able to run and be a part of this amazing community.
For the past 11 years I have worked in the public school system in a PDD classroom. I’ve worked with grades prek-4 as a paraprofessional, and for the past 8 years I have also worked as a home direct therapist with kids on the spectrum working on their home goals. OAR works hard to raise awareness and funds for Autism research, so it was an easy choice for me. I have fundraised and run 3 races on the RUN FOR AUTISM team, including the 2017 NYC Marathon, the 2018 Chicago Marathon and the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. I also ran the 2019 Active 5k virtually. I’m currently fundraising, training and looking forward to the 2020 Active for Autism Virtual 5K and Marine Corps Marathon!
Favorite race: Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon and 5-mile race. It honors fallen first responders.
Favorite post-race food/drink: Cheeseburger and fries and an ice cold beer. Yum!!!
June 6th & 7th - Virtual Revel Rockies Marathon
Michael Culley has been a RUN FOR AUTISM team member since 2017 when he joined the Chicago Marathon team. Since then he has run the Chicago Marathon 3 years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019) and the Berlin Marathon as a RUN FOR AUTISM team member. Michael is always sporting his RUN FOR AUTISM singlet on training runs and at races wherever he goes. He and his family are great supporters of OAR and the RUN FOR AUTISM program!
June 13th & 14th - Jogging4Josh 5K
My name is Alyssa Padilla and I’m about to be (hopefully) running in my 6th Chicago Marathon, all with OAR! I started running because my dad, Dan Padilla, randomly started running one year and then somehow convinced me that it would be a good idea even though I had barely ran more than a mile at a time in my life. Although he’s the one who got me to start running, the reason we both run is because of my younger brother, Josh. Josh having autism has had major impacts on my whole family’s lives, from learning new things about autism, supporting autism, raising awareness, and money to helping me decide what career path I wanted to take. If someone asked me to run a marathon other than running for OAR, there would have been no way I agreed to running. Over the years, we have grown our Jogging 4 Josh team and continue to raise awareness the best we can. Although I would not consider myself a "runner" knowing what Josh and others go through on a daily basis, especially in times like now with such uncertainty, it's the very least I can do if it means raising awareness and money to help the autism world.
Favorite race: Chicago Marathon--this is my favorite race because you run all around Chicago and are able to go through the different communities and really see the diversity within Chicago. I also enjoy this race because of the amazing crowd that comes out to support all of the runners.
Favorite post-race food/drink: going to dinner and getting a nice steak! Typically, with some red wine (and a lot of water of course). Every year after the Chicago Marathon, a big group of us (almost everyone from the Jogging 4 Josh team and family) go to dinner downtown and get a big table to celebrate those of us who finished the marathon and the others who ran around Chicago all day to cheer us on!
June 20th & 21st
My name is Heather Sharpe. I have been running regularly since 2010, joining OAR for the first time in 2011 at the Chicago Marathon. I had a goal to finish my 1st Marathon at age 30 and went along to fundraise with my daughter Abby in mind. She had been recently diagnosed on the spectrum. Since that time I have run the 2017 and 2019 Chicago Marathon for OAR. I completed the 2013 Marine Corp Marathon and 2017 MCM 10k. I formed a relay team for the 2018 Ironman Muncie “Tri for Autism” in which I completed the swim portion. In 2021 I will complete the Grand Rapids Half Triathlon for OAR.
I RUN FOR AUTISM for my daughter. She is my inspiration. She does not give up and makes strides every day in life-so I do not give up either. We keep going together!
Favorite race: Abe’s Amble which is run on the final day of the Illinois State Fair, this original 10k (with a 5k option now) runs most of the difficult bills in the Springfield area. Summer training is called “Abe’s Army” bringing together runners from the area to train together. I love the friendships and common bond amongst participants to reach their goals. Our local run tribe celebrates to everyone’s accomplishments-celebrating finish LINES and not finish times!
Favorite post-race drink: cold Chocolate Milk. The secondary drink choice is Fireball!
| Beth Caruso
June 27th & 28th
I started running for OAR at the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon. I wanted to run ONE marathon and I wanted to run for an Autism charity because of my godson and my running partner’s 2 sons who are all on the Autism spectrum. OAR’s mission statement resonated with me so I chose them. I fell in love with the organization and supporting OAR has become very important to me and has strengthened the bond between myself and my godson. I am training for marathon #4 as part of the RUN FOR AUTISM team.
Favorite race: My local Thanksgiving turkey trot. Although it’s always cold there’s a great sense of community and it benefits several local charities. I always run it with my running partner!
Favorite post-race food/drink: I love an egg and cheese after a long run and water. Although the beer after the Chicago marathon finish line was delightful.
July 4th & 5th
Tom Hughes was looking for a local 5K put on by the Philadelphia Eagles by searching the term “Run for Autism”, when he accidentally came across the Organization for Autism Research. After studying the resources offered on the OAR website, Tom impulsively signed up without any running experience, to run the 2019 Chicago Marathon on the RUN FOR AUTISM team! Tom began running with OAR in honor of his daughter, Juliette, who is on the spectrum. After a great RUN FOR AUTISM team experience at the Chicago Marathon Tom signed up to run the LA Marathon for OAR and crushed it with a PR of 3:27:35! In October Tom will throw on his OAR singlet again and run the 2020 Chicago Marathon with the team hoping for another PR!
Favorite race: Chicago 2019 was my first Marathon and will always be my favorite!
Favorite post-race food/drink: After a long run or race a cheesesteak is my favorite food!
July 11th & 12th
Hillary’s commitment to OAR began back in 2015 when she joined the New York City Marathon RUN FOR AUTISM team. After months of training, she developed a devastating injury to her IT band and unfortunately could not run the race but still raised over $12,600! Two years later Hillary recovered fully and came back strong in her RUN FOR AUTISM teal singlet to conquer the 2017 New York City Marathon. In 2018 Hillary ran the Chicago Marathon for OAR and last year she conquered the Marine Corps Marathon in pouring rain again for OAR! Hillary has raised well over $20,000 for OAR through the RUN FOR AUTISM program! She runs for her son, Cole, who was diagnosed with ASD just one day after his fourth birthday. Hillary never quits running and neither do two of her close friends who also run with OAR. The three of them make up a small portion of #TeamCole.
Favorite race: This is such a hard question! I’ve run the Run to Remember 1/2 marathon the most. It’s a race to honor fallen first responders. I absolutely LOVE a good 10-mile race. There is a fun one outside of Manchester, NH called the Allen Mello NH 10-Miler. It’s known to be a super hilly course, but I really enjoy it! My favorite Marathon is the Boston Marathon. I am training for the once in a lifetime fall Boston marathon now, but I ran my first ever marathon (and Boston marathon) the year after the bombing. I felt like I was participating in a piece of sports history. My favorite OAR is the Marine Corps Marathon. It was honestly a tossup between that and Boston. But my love for those two marathons are for two different reasons. The feeling you get running through our national capital still gives me chills. Even if I ran it in a monsoon.
Favorite post-race celebration food/drink: Tito’s and Lemonade or FireFly and Lemonade. I have celiac so I don’t get to enjoy the post-race beers, but I’m a Tito’s girl anyway. Pair that up with some nachos with extra cheese and guacamole, and I’m a happy runner. Also, a good bacon cheeseburger can also win its way to my heart post-race.
July 18th & 19th
Hey! I'm Sam, and I've been running with OAR since 2014, when I ran my first marathon. I started running as a freshman in college after my friend inspired me to run my first half marathon. While that was enough to fuel me for a few half marathons, I needed more to go the full 26.2! I chose to team up with RUN FOR AUTISM to keep me motivated for training for the Marine Corps Marathon during my first year of law school. I run for my cousin Andrew, who has autism, as well as for my many dedicated family members who have devoted their lives and their careers to teaching and helping other individuals and families live with special needs. My next big goal is to qualify for Boston!
Favorite Race: I have two! The New York City Marathon (cliché, I know, but it is truly magic!) and, of course, the Mike Caesar 5k for Autism!
Favorite post-race food/drink: Has got to be true, New York pizza, and beer.
July 25th & 26th