Koko Sponsors Minnesota Man’s Attempt at World Record 45-Day Transnational Run

This week, Marathon runner Steve Knowlton, 47, of Prior Lake, Minn., started his attempt to set a Guinness World Record by running 3,100 miles from San Francisco to New York in just 45 days. The team from Koko FitClub Dublin, CA was there to give Steve a send-off and many other Koko FitClub teams from across the country plan to cheer him along the way.

He hopes his run, which started on May 18, will raise awareness for autism and Asperger’s syndrome, and has partnered with ANSWER, Asperger’s Network Support, GreenSneakers and Koko FitClub to raise money for those affected.

Throughout the 45-day run, Koko FitClub locations across the nation will collect used sneakers for GreenSneakers, which provides shoes that would otherwise end up in a landfill as affordable footwear to impoverished communities around the world. GreenSneakers, in turn, will give ANSWER 50 cents per pound for all sneakers donated as part of Knowlton’s effort.

“I want this run to be bigger than me – I want it to bring awareness to autism and Asperger’s, which has affected someone very dear to me, and to draw attention to GreenSneakers, whose mission helps give shoes to the neediest people in the world,” said Knowlton. “As a runner, I am acutely aware of the environment and our need as a country to protect our resources by recycling and reusing what we can.”

Knowlton, who has been strength training for his run at the Savage, Minn. Koko FitClub, inspired the chain to become involved nationally. The state-of-the-art workout centers, known for the patented Smartraining automated personal training system, will accept donations from members and non-members and send them to GreenSneakers. (Find your nearest Koko FitClub location here.)

“We are humbled that Steve is using this incredible feat to shine the light on autism and Asperger’s syndrome and help us strengthen communities through understanding, inclusion and support for those affected,“ said ANSWER Director Theresa Namie. “We are also grateful to GreenSneakers and Koko FitClub for their partnership in helping us get our message out nationally.”

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About Steve Knowlton
Steve Knowlton lives and grew up in Prior Lake, MN, where he was inspired as an eighth-grader by Peter Jenkins’ “Walk Across America.” His mother nurtured his spiritual strength, and at 13 his father encouraged him to run Grandma’s Marathon with him in Duluth.  Steve was the youngest runner to finish the race.  In 2010 he ran from Seattle to Key Largo, 3,717 miles in 100 days.  For more information, go to www.steveknowlton.com.

ANSWER’s mission is to create a network that advocates for community awareness, furthering research, bettering education and support of individuals and families living with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  The 501c3 nonprofit organization serves as an informational channel where ideas and resources are shared utilizing public relations, the internet and parenting networking.  ANSWER supports training for educators in the areas of social skills, daily living skills, relaxation, and transitional skills.  ANSWER offers a holistic approach – from diagnosis to independent living – by making resources available and advocating for affordable intervention and support programs.  For more information, go to www.aspergersmn.org, or www.facebook.com/answerMN.

About Koko FitClub
Koko FitClub first opened in Boston in 2008 as an efficient, lean-muscle-building alternative to traditional gyms and today has more than 120 company-owned and franchise FitClubs in 30 states. Its name, Koko, inspired by the Japanese word for individual, refers to Koko FitClub’s fully customized fitness and nutrition programs that make up the patented Koko Smartraining System. The Smartraining System is automated personal strength and cardio training, offering the benefits of a 90-minute workout in just 30 minutes, combined with Koko Fuel, the program’s integrated nutritional component. In 2012, the company received a Franchise Business Review Franchisee Satisfaction Award and this year was named to the 2013 Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500. For more information, go to www.KokoFitClub.com, www.youtube.com/user/KokoFitClubChannel or www.facebook.com/KokoFitClub.

About GreenSneakers
GreenSneakers is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the needs of other nonprofit organizations as they work to offset the costs associated with various organizational development needs. By collecting used tennis shoes for GreenSneakers, nonprofits can raise funds to put toward fulfilling their mission and vision. The program provides organizations with a uniquely effective and environmentally friendly fundraising opportunity that has local and global impacts. With a collection of sneakers for reuse, nonprofits help provide affordable footwear to people in need around the world. This activity greatly improves economic conditions in developing nations, as well, and provides sustainable job opportunities where they otherwise would not exist. In cases of humanitarian need, collected sneakers are distributed through reputable relief agencies that have the appropriate mechanisms in place to effectively engage in this type of aide. For more information, go to www.GreenSneakers.org.

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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

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