Donate Now
Count Down

Our Mission/Story

The Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k is an IRS registered 501(c)3 Charitable Organization.

Race registration fees are tax-deductible in the amount of the registration fee minus ten (10) dollars.

Sponsorship donations are fully deductible.

 

Mission Statement

MISSION. The Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k is a non-profit organization that serves the community by providing a world class half marathon and related fun events that raise money to benefit local charities, while promoting health and fitness.

            The Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k Foundation has four key goals:

  1. Manage, organize, promote, and raise funds to support the Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k race event and related activities;
  2. Raise awareness within the community and raise funds to advance the mission of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County;
  3. Promote healthy living within the community through events that support an active and healthy lifestyle while raising money to benefit local charities;
  4. Provide post-secondary educational funding for each of Jacinda Miller’s two sons and two ongoing scholarships at Coatesville Area Senior High School.

VISION. The Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k will be a driving force for good by inspiring and promoting health while raising charitable funds for those within our community.

OUR STORY

My name is Jessica Rigo, and I am a runner.  I wrote this story in April 2015 to be considered for inclusion in the St. Luke’s Running Stars.  I wrote it from my heart, with a tremendous amount of tears.  It is included here not to gain sympathy – but to gain support for this wonderful event and the charities it supports.  I wrote it in honor of two people who I love, and who I lost…

I am not a fast runner, but I love to run long distances. In the Fall of 2007, my family and I joined our local YMCA. It was here that I met a fitness instructor by the name of Jacinda Miller.

The first thing I noticed about Jacinda was her genuine smile and infectious laugh. She inspires every single person in her fitness class (of which there are several types/duration/ability level)…regardless of the person’s age or ability level. Jacinda coached form impeccably, encouraged everyone to keep going, and distracted all from discomfort with funny and entertaining stories from her life.

Jacinda and & I struck up a friendship. We began running together. Inside of a month, we were running partners. We ran small distances, then longer distances…and eventually decided to ‘throw caution and bad knees to the wind,’ and train for our first-ever Half Marathon. We chose St. Luke’s! It was Spring 2009. This was to be the first of many races over many years for us, up to and including the Marathon distance. Shortly after this, Jacinda became not only my role-model, but my mentor. With her encouragement and assistance, I pursued my first fitness certifications and was hired by the aforementioned YMCA.

As running partners go, you have to really like that person. Your running partner is a “partner” in the true sense of the word: you spend hours alone together. Talking. You have to really hold that person in high esteem. I am so blessed that not only is Jacinda my running partner, but my friend as well. We hang out, cook dinner together, our sons are best friends, and many people mistake us to be sisters. We laugh, and agree. We are sisters, too.

In September 2014, my Dad succumbed to cancer after a long, brave battle. The months leading to his passing were dreadful, stressful, awful, any -ful you care to imagine. Through it all, Jacinda dragged me out to run. She listened to my troubles, held my hands when I cried, and when my Dad died – she drug me out of bed in the morning to run. I didn’t want to go. I would invariably start crying from grief at mile 2. Jacinda, the true running partner and ongoing inspiration that she is, would have NONE of that: “Let’s go run. You’ll feel better after.” Out the door we’d go. Of course, she was right! Running was returning me to myself, with Jacinda dragging me along for the ride.

On November 3, 2014, the unthinkable happened. Jacinda’s life was taken in a tragic, unforeseen, violent manner: domestic violence. The man she had previously been dating ambushed and killed her – and then himself – in the parking lot of the YMCA where we worked. This man had never, not once, raised a hand to her or showed any inkling of violent tendencies. She leaves behind two children, a large immediate and extended family, and countless friends, all who love her dearly. Jacinda was a force. An inspiration. A bright light. So many things to so many people. Who could ever hurt her? It is unthinkable. What little motivation I had left to run, to do anything really, deserted me entirely.

In my grief, I gathered a group of friends to run the 2015 St. Luke’s Half Marathon. A training plan with a favorite race at the end is usually a good motivator for me. Jacinda and I have run it multiple times since 2009; and this year I will run in her honor. Right about the time training officially kicked off, I could feel the motivation return. I could hear Jacinda’s southern accent: “Come on girl, you got this. You can do this!” More importantly, Jacinda is also the inspiration for the first-ever Chester County Half Marathon & Memorial 5k.

Born out of grief, a wish to help provide for her children, and a fervent desire to carry on the bright and beautiful spirit of my fallen partner, I am continuing to run. Jacinda, even now, is inspiring others to run. I – along with our amazing team of Race Directors – am using the Chesco Half & Memorial 5k to raise funds for our charities, to motivate people to run in her honor, to encourage everyone to be their best selves – as she inspired others so effortlessly each and every day.

Running helps me cope. I don’t always cry at mile 2, but many times I still do. Occasionally, when I am running all alone in the quiet, I feel Jacinda in her rightful place – next to my right shoulder. Just for a split second, she lets me know that she is with me…to keep trying, keep moving forward…and to keep running.

100% of race proceeds are donated to local charities, including an education fund, 2 scholarships in Jacinda’s name at Coatesville Area Senior High School, and the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.  For more information or for our Tax Identification number, please contact: [email protected]