News

April 15, 2014 – The National Youth 5k Series is excited to expand to Maryland’s Eastern Shore with the announcement of Salisbury, MD as the 6th city to host a National Youth 5k Series Event. The Salisbury Race will be the kickoff event for the all day Benefit for The Brooke Mulford Foundation.  The Benefit will take place at The Amphitheater at Heron Ponds, a premier event venue that is dedicated to supporting families and giving back to the community.  Beginning the day long benefit will be The National Youth 5k Series’ timed 5k and 1 mile Fun Run.  Post race, the festivities continue with the 2nd Annual “Brooke Mulford Soccer Tournament” followed by “Eastern Fest,” celebrating signature crab dishes of the Eastern Shore’s local restaurants.  The grand finale of the day will be an outdoor concert produced by Great Scott Broadcasting.

The Brooke Mulford Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) that helps raise awareness and money to fight and fund research for pediatric cancer and help families on the Delmarva Peninsula whose child is under 18 and becomes diagnosed with cancer.  The National Youth 5k Series is thrilled to partner with the Foundation and be the lead off event for what promises to be an exciting day for active families of the Delmarva peninsula.

Doug Marshall, founder of The Amphitheater at Heron Ponds and life-long Delmarva peninsula resident says, “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide the venue and support for what promises to be a day-long celebration of our local hero Brooke Mulford. Starting with the soccer tournament and 5K in the morning – all the way through the evening’s festivities – this is going to be a can’t miss event and a great way to kick off the summer on the Shore.”

Jon Brianas, Founder of the National Youth 5K Series is ecstatic to partner with such an exciting event and support such a notable foundation. Jon Brianas,  “Cancer has played a large role in my life as well as the lives of many of my siblings and family members.  I have developed a strong desire to make my experience give back to the next generation and it was the catalyst behind creating the National Youth 5K Series.  In Salisbury we now have a unique opportunity to play a small part in a special day for Brooke, a cancer warrior with a community and team supporting her.  We are proud to be joining her Team!”

About Salisbury, MD

Located at the head of the Wicomico River, the town of Salisbury has been an important part of the Eastern Shore since the mid-17th century.  During the 19th century, Salisbury was an active seaport and became dubbed “The Hub of Delmarva.”  Despite the growing depression throughout the rest of the county, Salisbury continued to thrive as a location for booming trade and new homesteads for colonists. The opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1951 brought even more growth to Salisbury with additional business, tourists and trade.  Today Salisbury is a commercial and culture hub with an active local community.   Learn more at http://www.ci.salisbury.md.us/

Heron Ponds Amphitheater & Sports Complex

The Amphitheater At Heron Ponds was founded and created in 2012 by Doug Marshall, a life-long resident of the Delmarva Peninsula, and owner of Marshall Auctions and Marshall Home and Land Company. Doug’s goal was simple, but his vision was big. The idea behind the amphitheater was to create an outdoor concert venue that would offer and host a diverse range of artists at a very fair price. With troubled economic times, Doug wanted to create an outlet for families to come and be entertained, at a price that wouldn’t break the bank.  Giving back to the community has always been important to the Marshall family and the venue will continue to support many local charities, support local businesses, and create an outlet for community enrichment and growth. www.heronpondslive.com

About the National Youth 5K Series

The National Youth 5K Series (NY5K) is a 5K and 1mi (fun run) youth and family-friendly running series and 6-week youth running clinic.  We believe the race is a metaphor for life and want to use this race series to provide kids with a recipe for success that can translate into other areas.  There is no question that life is hard and our children will face challenges and adversity… but our goal is to teach and inspire them to meet this adversity with confidence because they have seen it before and practiced successful habits.  Learn more at www.nationalyouth5k.com  

April 8, 2014 – Smyrna, TN has just been announced as the next host city in the National Youth 5K Series.  A small town situated 20 miles southeast of Nashville, Smyrna boasts a large stage for the next host location of the National Youth 5K Series.  Nestled amongst 10 outdoor parks, 7 miles of greenway trails and a very active youth community, the town of Smyrna offers an ideal location for our expansion outside of the Mid-Atlantic region.  Stewarts Creek Elementary School will act as the host site for the timed 5K race and 1 mile Fun Run event.

Proceeds from The Smyrna National Youth 5k event will benefit Books From Birth, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote kindergarten readiness and strengthen family bonds by providing age-appropriate books for children from birth to age five.

The SCE community is thrilled to be able to host this event and everyone involved in helping to organize this race is ecstatic!  The coaches for the SCE Running Club state, “This race gives the kids something to work and train hard for and also allows them the opportunity to give back to their community.  The kids feel great knowing they can help make a difference.  We are so excited for race day!!

Jon Brianas, founder of the National Youth 5K Series, is excited by this expansion of the series.  “Our goal here is simple, we want to reach more kids with our mission, not only to instill values of living and active lifestyle, but helping children learn to face challenges they encounter through life with confidence.  We believe the race experience and the lessons one can derive from it holds many keys toward this and couldn’t be more thrilled that the community of Smyrna will play a pivotal role in the expansion of this message.  We’re happy to have them onboard.  Let’s Do This!”

About Smyrna, TN

With roots in the early 19th century, Smyrna began as an agrarian community with the Civil War playing an important role in the area due to its railroad station which lies between Nashville and Chattanooga.  Smyrna was originally incorporated in 1869 but its charter was rescinded by the state several years later. In 1915 the town re-incorporated and adopted a commission form of government and mayor.  One of the major events of the war for the town involved the Confederate States hero Sam Davis, who, after being charged with spying, gave up his life instead of giving any information to the Union Army. He was captured November 20, 1863 and was hanged by Union forces on November 27 of that year.  The Sam Davis Plantation, located on 160 acres (0.65 km2) of well-maintained farmland, is the town’s most important historical site.  Learn more at www.townofsmyrna.org

About the National Youth 5K Series

The National Youth 5K Series (NY5K) is a 5K and 1mi (fun run) youth and family-friendly running series and 6-week youth running clinic.  We believe the race is a metaphor for life and want to use this race series to provide kids with a recipe for success that can translate into other areas.  There is no question that life is hard and our children will face challenges and adversity… but our goal is to teach and inspire them to meet this adversity with confidence because they have seen it before and practiced successful habits.  Learn more at www.nationalyouth5k.com

 

August 22, 2013 – The National Youth 5K Series is excited to announce that Philadelphia Runner will host the National Youth 5K Series in Philadelphia next year on July 20, 2014.  The venue selected for the expansion of the series into Philadelphia is Citizens Bank Park, home baseball stadium of the Philadelphia Phillies. The event will be staged on the West side of the complex where access and parking are very convenient for participants.  Plans are also in the works for a family post-party at McFadden’s Restaurant accessible from the parking lot and located within the stadium.

Ryan Callahan, Outreach Director for all Philadelphia Runner stores, was exited to join the movement. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the National Youth 5k Series. We have always thought of ourselves as being more than just a running store and our involvement with NY5K is a great way for us to promote healthy lifestyles for youth in the Philadelphia area. We are deeply involved with local youth non-profits such as Students Run Philly Style and Girls on the Run and NY5K is a perfect addition to these partnerships.”

Founder of the National Youth 5K Series, Jon Brianas, had this to say: “The expansion of the series into Philadelphia is very exciting as it marks the first leg of the series outside of the state of Maryland.  Philadelphia was a natural target city for us due to it’s close proximity of our established events but also because and the special connection between all of us Naval Academy Alumni have with the city of Philadelphia and the long-standing tradition of the Army-Navy Football Game being played there.  It’s a familiar city we love.  The connection with Philadelphia Runner is a critical element as they believe in our message and reaching youth in the Philly area.”

About Philadelphia Runner

Founded in 2004, Philadelphia Runner is the premier running and walking specialty store in the Philadelphia area. With a friendly and expert staff and a proven shoe fitting process, Philadelphia Runner strives to make people feel comfortable by listening to their needs and finding solutions to help them meet their goals. From new runners to seasoned veterans, Philadelphia Runner has the right solutions to help you get to where you want to go.  Learn more at www.philadelphiarunner.com.

About the National Youth 5K Series

The National Youth 5K Series (NY5K) is a 5K and 1mi (fun run) youth and family-friendly running series and 6-week youth running clinic.  We believe the race is a metaphor for life and want to use this race series to provide kids with a recipe for success that can translate into other areas.  There is no question that life is hard and our children will face challenges and adversity… but our goal is to teach and inspire them to meet this adversity with confidence because they have seen it before and practiced successful habits.  Learn more at www.nationalyouth5k.com.

Aug 1, 2013, by Jon Brianas

The short answer… I’m on a mission to make my experience with cancer while playing lacrosse and serving as Team Captain of my U.S. Naval Academy Lacrosse Team give back to the next generation.  This experience and the lessons I’ve pulled out of it have inspired me to send a positive message to kids about teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and the role adversity plays in life in pursuit of one’s dreams.

The National Youth 5K Series is the avenue by which I’ve chosen to engage with kids and deliver this message through my foundation, the Team Captain Kids Foundation.

The long answer… there’s always a long answer and those who know me know that I don’t mind talking about adversity and life, family, friendships, obstacles, working out, challenging yourself, dreams, victories, failures, and the list goes on.  So here’s a little bit about me, my story, why I do what I do, and I think it might put the National Youth 5K Series and what I’m trying to deliver to the next generation in context.

So when I was a kid my dream was to be a superhero… no seriously, all boys want to be a superhero right?  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were pretty cool at the time and I just loved the idea of a Team of kids lead by an old sensei trying to help others.  Once I figured I couldn’t be a ninja turtle I settled for next best… a Division I Lacrosse player.  Well maybe a distant 5th best.  But regardless, around Annapolis, MD lacrosse is a pretty cool sport I absolutely loved playing, it’s one of those games that comes with a unique history and warrior spirit that once it pierces your heart it never leaves.  So I layered this vision into my future… a dream of playing lacrosse at the Division I level.

I was a good athlete in high school and by the time I was a senior I was voted Team Captain at Annapolis High School and earned All-County, All-State, and All-America honors.  That helped gain the interest of the Naval Academy lacrosse coaches.  It took a couple years of hard work at USNA but by Junior year I was finally realizing my dream and soon after the start of the season I moved onto the starting midfield line.  The first game in the starting lineup we would play Georgetown University on our home field.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in March of 1999 and it seemed like all of Annapolis came out to watch the game.  I netted 2 goals in a heated overtime victory that sealed our team playing into the post-season that year.  I remember telling my coach after the game that I had an appointment on Monday to get a bump checked out but that I’d be back in time for practice.

I didn’t make it to Monday’s practice.  That night I was on the surgery table diagnosed with Testicular Cancer.  I suppose cancer never happens at the right time but this was devastating.  There had to be a better time than just then.  Certainly not right when I had finally made it all the way to the starting lineup just to have it taken away so quickly.  I set a goal for myself to get back to the playing field and complete my dream of playing Division I lacrosse.  It happened but not without some difficulties.

While I got back onto the playing field that season another large abdominal surgery loomed on the horizon and senior year I would be dealt a cancer relapse and two torn ACLs.  Over a span of one year from the point I was diagnosed with cancer I underwent three surgeries, a relapse in my abdomen, 3 cycles of chemotherapy, and 6-weeks of missed class.  I would travel with the Team when I could, come out to practices when I felt up to it, and would fulfill my Team Captain responsibilities to the best of my abilities.

Chemo ended on February 22nd and by March 29th of 2000 I had gained enough strength and stamina to dress and play in my first game back to the playing field.  The game was against Air Force at home and it was a special one.  It wasn’t close, we won 17-2, but I scored a goal with the help of my Teammates and it marked a long, hard-fought journey back.  That 2000 season I played in the final 7 games of the season and ended up tallying 6 goals and 3 assists.

I never did get back to my playing form from Junior year and in the years following that experience it came with mixed emotions.  Part of me was left with the feeling that I was supposed to be a better lacrosse player, I didn’t get that opportunity and cancer took that away from me.  Granted I’m a positive type of guy but deep inside there was a part of me that was angry towards cancer for that.

I tucked this experience away for quite a while.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought about being a cancer survivor everyday but not in the context of somehow using this experience to help define my purpose in life.  I went on with life, married my high school sweetheart Jenny, went to some more school receiving an MBA from Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business, and became a father of 4 amazing kids.

However, in late 2009 and early 2010 I started reflecting on this experience a lot and had many conversations with myself about it.  Why me?  Why did cancer do this and what is the meaning of those events in my life?  What elements were in place to help me get through that period… what did I learn?  There was a period of reflection… then decisions… then actions.

A turning point in my life took place where a passion was ignited, a primary mission in my life defined, a life that now has a larger meaning and purpose.  Strangely enough it is fueled by this time in my life… how ironic that cancer has given this to me.

Something just clicked, the idea that the inevitable adversity we all face in life can either overcome you or you can overcome it and use the energy that comes with it to ultimately fuel your dreams and passions in life.  I made a decision that I would not be left with the feeling that cancer only took away my dreams and in fact it’s going to give back far more than it ever took away.  I have made it my personal dream to use this experience to make a positive difference in the world by helping inspire others through adverse times and doing my best to send a healthy, positive message about Teamwork to as many youth as I can reach.

The mantra of the National Youth 5K Series is OVERCOME, DREAM , SUCCEED.  I will learn to OVERCOME obstacles in life, DREAM about my purpose, and SUCCEED with the help from my Team.

July 24, 2013 – Leonardtown, MD has just been announced as the 3rd host city in the National Youth 5K Series.  A beautiful little town situated along the Breton Bay waterfront in Maryland’s St. Mary’s County, Leondartown is an ideal setting to bring families together and make some inspiring memories.  Local and visiting families alike will get to partake in the historic town, established in 1708, and it’s many amenities including local shops and restaurants as well as the water activities including canoeing and kayaking.  Staged from the Wharf area all 5K participants and spectators will benefit from the renaissance that has occurred in one of Maryland’s most treasured southern towns.

Leading the local efforts in organizing the race is Cynthia Lisa, a nearby resident and U.S. Naval Academy classmate of Jon Brianas, National Youth 5K Series Founder.  “I’m excited to bring the National Youth 5K Series here to the families of St. Mary’s County.  The race is a fun way to challenge our youth to be active and encourage healthy lifestyles together.  Whether you are 5 or 75, an avid athlete or couch kid, this will no doubt be a motivational and inspirational day.”  Cynthia’s husband is also a Naval Academy graduate and is currently stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station working in PMA-265.  

Excitement is abound in the local area, Maria Fleming, Public Relations & Events Coordinator for Leonardtown, has been instrumental in the determining how the town might best host this event.  “Even though it is a working town with some steep hills, our streets are the venue for several charity walks and 5K runs throughout the year.  But this unique opportunity encourages family members of all ages and fitness levels to be successful by working together and achieving their own personal goals.  The National Youth 5K Series is a perfect example of the kinds of family-friendly activities we like to help provide for our community, and we are pleased that Cynthia is having the inaugural event here in Leonardtown.” 

About Leonardtown, MD

Leonardtown, MD is centrally located in Maryland’s St. Mary’s County and lies at the head of Breton Bay which meets the Potomac River.  Leonardtown is one of the oldest county seats in America with historic sites that provide endless photo opportunities all within talking distance of each other.  Local businesses surround the beautiful Town Square and just down the hill right to the water’s edge is the Wharf and scenic waterfront view of Breton Bay.  Learn more at www.leonardtown.somd.com

About the National Youth 5K Series

The National Youth 5K Series (NY5K) is a 5K and 1mi (fun run) youth and family-friendly running series and 6-week youth running clinic.  We believe the race is a metaphor for life and want to use this race series to provide kids with a recipe for success that can translate into other areas.  There is no question that life is hard and our children will face challenges and adversity… but our goal is to teach and inspire them to meet this adversity with confidence because they have seen it before and practiced successful habits.  Learn more at www.nationalyouth5k.com

June 6, 2013 – The National Youth 5K Series is excited to announce that Charm City Run (CCR) will host the National Youth 5K Series in Baltimore this year on October 20, 2013.  The site selected to host the expansion of the series into Baltimore is Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley, MD, site of the MIAA Cross Country Championships. Oregon Ridge provides the perfect backdrop to host a showcase youth running event combining a safe but challenging course, convenient participant access, and substantial facilities and parking to accommodate the event.

Tom Mansfield, General Manager for all of CCR stores, was thrilled to join the movement. “The National Youth 5K Series is an initiative that shares with the community what we at Charm City Run are all about, inspiring young kids to get moving and motivated.  We have loved being involved with the first stop in Annapolis and are excited about this years expansion to Baltimore.  Jon and his team are making a true impact in our communities where it counts, with our youth.  Charm City Run is happy to help play a part in this mission.”

Founder of the National Youth 5K Series, Jon Brianas, had this to say: “Tom and whole Charm City Run team have been a pleasure to work with over the last couple years with our Annapolis event, we were naturally very excited at the opportunity to have them involved with our growth into a series.  It’s clear to us that Charm City Run is interested in making a difference in the lives of children… this interest is at the foundation of our partnership.”

About Charm City Run

Charm City Run is a Running & Walking Specialty company that is committed to fitting every customer in the “right” shoe based on their specific needs. We have 5 retail store locations around Maryland. If you are training for your next event or just looking for something comfortable to wear day-to-day stop in and check us out!  Learn more at www.charmcityrun.com.

About the National Youth 5K Series

The National Youth 5K Series (NY5K) is a 5K and 1mi (fun run) youth and family-friendly running series and 6-week youth running clinic.  We believe the race is a metaphor for life and want to use this race series to provide kids with a recipe for success that can translate into other areas.  There is no question that life is hard and our children will face challenges and adversity… but our goal is to teach and inspire them to meet this adversity with confidence because they have seen it before and practiced successful habits.  Learn more at www.nationalyouth5k.com.