Autism Breakthrough of Knoxville is hosting a 21-Day Virtual Challenge November 5-25, featuring individual runs, walks and talks that replace its annual spring 5K Run for Autism.
Breakthrough is inviting the community to learn more about adults on the autism spectrum through the 21-day journey with stories from families of adults with autism and discussions with leading professionals knowledgeable in the field of autism. Its annual 5K Run will be held during the challenge, although virtually this year because of COVID-19.
“In April we made the decision to postpone our Annual 5K Run out of concern for runners’ health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those concerns remain present today,” race chair Happy Lee said.
“We hope you will take the challenge to run, walk, listen, and talk about issues facing adults on the spectrum today. We invite you to hear our stories and share them with friends and family each day during the challenge,” Lee added.
For the race, Breakthrough will offer three virtual 5K events: a certified course in downtown Knoxville at Tyson Park, a certified course in west Knoxville at Turkey Creek, and a “run anywhere” course. The RaceJoy app will enable participants to track time and distance for each option.
The 21-Day Virtual Challenge will focus on adults on the autism spectrum, a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. Autism is estimated to affect more than 2,000 individuals of all ages in the Knoxville region. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Participants may listen each day to a 30-minute audio via Zoom or listen later on Spotify, iTunes, or Anchor.fm. Those running or walking while listening are encouraged to be mindful of surroundings, wear a face covering if with a group, and practice safety protocols.
Autism Breakthrough provides residential services, in-home support, a Saturday therapeutic recreation program, day activities focusing on lifelong education, job skill development and community integration, and a social group for adults with Asperger’s syndrome. A nonprofit agency, Autism Breakthrough was founded by parents of children with autism.
To register for the 21-Day Virtual Challenge and race, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Knoxville/BreakthroughVityualRunforAutism, www.breakthroughknoxville.org, or the RaceJoy app. Registration is $30 for adults and $15 for students. Those who register will receive a race t-shirt. Breakthrough encourages participants to share pictures of themselves in t-shirts on Breakthrough’s and their own social media.
Participants who registered for the 2020 Breakthrough Run before September 1 may visit the above website for their options for November. For more information, see the Autism Breakthrough website, www.breakthroughknoxville.org, or contact Kendrise Colebrooke at Breakthrough, (865) 247-0065, extension 28.