AHS’ Noonan and Cheney Compete in Challenge Aspen Race in Italy

On your mark, get set, GO! Boom, the gun goes off at the starting line. Hundreds of racers from all over the world have trained tirelessly for this exact moment: running over 20 miles in the Italian Alps, climbing more than 7,000 vertical feet. It’s quite the challenge, but the race will end sweeter than most, for Aspen High School’s own Megan Noonan and Adam Cheney, who will both be running for Challenge Aspen’s Sole Mates team.

Challenge Aspen is an organization focused on making a difference for people with physical and cognitive disabilities, which works to “create possibilities for people with disabilities.” Challenge Aspen centers on making sports and outdoor activities accessible for everyone.

The Challenge Aspen Team for 2022, Aspen teachers Adam Cheney and Megan Noonan are pictured in the middle. (Provided by Megan Noonan)

Megan Noonan, AHS math teacher and avid runner, has been involved with many Challenge Aspen programs throughout her time living in Aspen. This will be her second time running the Sole Mates race which takes place every year in a new location, this year in Verbena, Italy on October 1st.

Adam Cheney, AHS social studies teacher will be racing for the first time. The 37-Kilometer Sole Mates race is an annual fundraiser to help support the organization’s different year-round programs like ski lessons, horseback riding, and rafting.

Noonan has been closely involved with this organization because of her son who has epilepsy. Challenge Aspen´s programs have helped him to enjoy these types of outdoor activities.

“I originally heard about Challenge Aspen because my son has epilepsy. He was supposed to go on an all-class ski day, and he had just had a breakthrough seizure two days before and they didn’t feel really comfortable with getting them on the chairlift because if he had a seizure. But then Challenge Aspen stepped up and got a special harness for the chairlift so that if he were to have a seizure, he’d be safe on the chairlift and so he didn’t miss out on the ski day,” Noonan said.

Noonan and Cheney are both choosing to raise additional donations on their fundraising pages in an effort to provide more people with similar opportunities. Noonan has the goal of raising $4000, and the people who have donated have brought the Aspen teachers closer to reaching their goals, writing messages encouraging Noonan and Cheney as they train and run for this cause. The course is going to be especially challenging for Noonan and Cheney, who have each experienced COVID within the last month, Cheney more recently.
“Initially, I signed up for the 81 Kilometer (50 Mile) Race and had been training for this distance since April 1. However, I tested positive for Covid on Sept. 8, and so my plans have had to change. If they are not able to change my distance, I will start the 81 KM race and set a target of somewhere between 22-28 miles (there is a summit at mile 28) and stop when my body tells me to,” Cheney said.

Regardless of this challenge, Noonan and Cheney are both excited to see and experience a new country, especially through this experience. They are both doing something that makes them happy, and for a cause they care about. Below are the fundraising pages they are using to raise money for Challenge Aspen, and through this Noonan and Cheney hope to do well and make not only Challenge Aspen, but our whole community, proud.

Click here for:

Adam’s Donation page
Megan’s Donation page