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Team Up! with Autism Speaks Runners ROCK XSport Fitness Rock 'n' Roll

Team Up! with Autism Speaks runners ROCKED Chicago at the 2013 XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Half and Mini Marathon on Sunday, July 21.

30 runners from six different states came together to run 13.1 miles in the summer sun and 5 runners (including 3 Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks interns) completed a 5K, raising almost $44,000 for Autism Speaks---and counting!

For some runners, the season began when registration opened in December, encouraging 2013 to be the year that they would never forget. As many New Year’s resolutions were quickly abandoned, the Team Up! runners stuck with theirs--successfully meeting and exceeding their fundraising goals and physical goals of crossing the finish line. Big thanks to our team for a job well done.

Approximately 40 guests came together on Saturday, July 20th at teammate, Yamandu Perez’s restaurant, Two ( (1132 West Grand Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60642), in Chicago’s West Loop area. Runners and their guests reminisced on the months leading up to the big day and shared tips for success over a delicious meal. Team Up! Chair, Eric Bursch addressed the group, thanking them for their contributions to the team and reflecting on his own reasons for running.

Eric shared, “As most of you know, I run for my son Evan. Evan is 9 years old and on the spectrum (diagnosed with PDD NOS). This is one way that I can honor him by raising money for Autism speaks and raising public awareness for autism.”. Team Up! was lucky to have Eric as a teammate this year as he personally has raised upwards to $3,500 as an individual runner. Even more so, we are thankful to have him as our leader for all of the Chicago Races. Thank you, Eric!

Not only did Team Up! runners and volunteers enjoy music along the route, but they were also treated to a free post-race concert featuring, Walk the Earth. This group quickly rose to the top of the Billboard charts after releasing their 5 people-1 guitar video cover of the song “Somebody that I Used to Know” ( which gained over 35 million views in under 2 weeks (currently near 150 million!). What a way to celebrate their months of training and fundraising-and to share it with their loved ones! Big thanks to this amazing team and good luck to many of them as they continue their training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon that is set for October 13, 2013. You all ROCK!

Interested in making 2014 your year by running or volunteering for Team Up! with Autism Speaks events in Chicago or Milwaukee? Please e-mail and we will be sure to add you to the interest list. For more information, visit