UConn student closing in on Boston Marathon fundraising goal

 Caitlin Eaton-Robb is pictured crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. This month, she will be running as a charity runner for the CMAK Foundation in the Boston Marathon on April 16.(Photos Courtesy of Caitlin Eaton-Robb)

Caitlin Eaton-Robb is pictured crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. This month, she will be running as a charity runner for the CMAK Foundation in the Boston Marathon on April 16.(Photos Courtesy of Caitlin Eaton-Robb)

Caitlin Eaton-Robb, a fifth-year biomedical and Spanish major at the University of Connecticut, is running 26.2 miles to raise money for the CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation at the Boston Marathon.

Kowalski was a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting and had run a younger child’s triathlon before, Eaton-Robb said.

“(He) was an active little kid,” Eaton-Robb said. “In his memory, his parents created this foundation (for) physical wellness aspect to other kids.”

Eaton-Robb heard about the program when her father covered an event the organization held where children were taught how to ride bikes. The children then kept the bikes they practiced on, she said.

The organization seeks to show young children the spirit of participating in a triathlon, according to Eaton-Robb’s donation page.

“The Kowalski family wanted to capture Chase’s competitive spirit…in creating a charity in his honor with a focus on health and wellness for children and their families,” the page said.

Fleet Feet, an athletic goods store, looked for Boston Marathon runners through a post on their Facebook page, Eaton-Robb said. Another teacher in Greenwich was also running specifically for this organization as well.

Eaton-Robb not only follows a training schedule to get ready for the Boston Marathon, she also continues to do so after surgeries for Chiari malformation, a brain malformation where the base of her brain sits too low on her skull and causes complications. Starting at the age of 10, Eaton-Robb underwent four surgeries until joining her high school cross-country team at 15-years-old. Eaton-Robb said she would describe herself as an ‘athletic person’ but not an athlete.

“I was very slow,” Eaton-Robb said. “But that didn’t affect anyone but me.”

The reason why she ran with the CMAK foundation, Eaton-Robb said, was because of its emphasis on bringing an active lifestyle to young kids. She had become a hockey coach for kids ages 2-to-7 year olds because she believed in the mission of an early active lifestyle. She said that a lot of her surgeons attributed her success following the surgeries to the active life of sports that she led during her younger years.

Eaton-Robb had completed her first half-marathon on her 18th birthday. She has run nine half marathons. Her first marathon was in Valencia, Spain. The Boston Marathon will be her fourth marathon and it will be the first event she runs for charity.

Fundraising towards $5,000 began for Eaton-Robb before the holidays in Dec. 2018. She raised her minimum required goal of $5000 to $6000. She had sent out letters and postcards to businesses, friends and family to ask for donations. Her donation page can be found at bit.ly/CMAKBoston2018.

Eaton-Robb acknowledged that college students do not have that much money to give, but added that donating would help her cause greatly.

“There are a lot of us, and so if you think that this is a worthy cause, and you had the experience that I had where sports and physical activity were important to your development as a child, consider giving,” Eaton-Robb said.


Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.nguyen@uconn.edu.