Climb Howelsen, raise money: Glassmeyer skinathon will benefit mental health foundation
About two years ago, at a bike race in Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs resident Ben Glassmeyer encountered Go4Graham, a foundation working to promote mental wellness through exercise and education, while breaking down stigma around mental health. Discovering that community changed his life.
Eight years ago, Ben lost his brother Pete to suicide. He turned to sports and races to help him cope. Finding a foundation that aligned with his passions and joining a community of like-minded people felt like his calling.
Now, as a Go4Graham ambassador, Glassmeyer is hosting his own event that could potentially change someone else’s life, like that bike race in Breckenridge did just a couple years ago. On Saturday, March 26, Glassmeyer and his wife, Sarah, are hosting the Glassmeyer Skinathon to benefit Go4Graham at Howelsen Hill.
“It’s a dream come true,” Glassmeyer said of the opportunity to support a cause so close to his heart. “Getting the word out and seeing how many people are supportive of something I stand really strong and true behind is really great.”
People can support the cause by attending Saturday’s event and by donating or pledging at go.rallyup.com/glassmeyerskinathon/Campaign/Details. A generous donor offered to match donations up to $20,000. So far, donations have contributed more than $5,000. That doesn’t include the pledges to pay a certain amount per lap that Glassmeyer completes.
“It would be amazing if we made $40,000, but at the same time, there is potentially room to make more than that,” Glassmeyer said. “If we raise $20,000 and with that match it made $40,000, that would be unreal.”
Ambassadors aren’t required to host fundraisers, but they are somewhat common. However, Go4Graham founder and Executive Director Will Stingley thinks this is on the bigger side of things, with the organization and scale.
The skinathon had a soft debut last winter, as Glassmeyer got permission to invite friends to a closed Howelsen Hill to help him complete 30 laps in honor of his 30th birthday. He envisioned turning the event into a fundraiser for Go4Graham, but the 2021 rendition was thrown together too last minute to do so.
This year’s event is very well planned. The city has fully supported the event and allowed the Glassmeyers to host the skinathon at Howelsen while it’s open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Basecamp will be on the jump flats, where the Courtney Parks and the Outrun Snack Bar will provide snacks and refreshments. She plans to donate 100% of her profits that day to Go4Graham.
Money from events like this help grow Go4Graham’s capacity and fund programs such as the Let’s Talk Therapy Fund.
“We have a partner in Colorado. We’ve partnered with them to provide therapy sessions for free to people who are under-insured or uninsured,” Stingley said. “Which is most of us, especially mental health and therapy is almost all under insured. That’s something we’re really focusing on to raise money for that.”
A designated uphill route will stretch up Mile Run then Ridge trail, but in the spirit of making it an accessible event, participants can take any route they want down Howelsen Hill, so long as they return to base camp to count their lap.
Not only is the cause close to Glassmeyer’s heart, but so is the location. Ben works as a parks, open space, trails and ski maintenance worker while Sarah is the Town Challenge Course Director.
Ben hopes to get to Howelsen early and get a good portion of his 31 laps done, so he can be a little more leisurely and social throughout the afternoon. He hopes to skin a lap with everyone who shows up and personally thank everyone.
Last year, Glassmeyer loved that everyone got so motivated to push themselves, like a 12-year-old trying to do 12 laps since Glassmeyer was doing 30 to celebrate his 30th birthday. It’s that sense of accomplishment that keeps Glassmeyer going through life, but particularly in the time following the death of his brother.
“That sense of completion when you’re done, you can’t buy that feeling of accomplishment,” Ben said. “When you’re on cloud nine of that completion, your troubles just go away.”
He hopes this event can provide that feeling to someone else, or, perhaps, introduce someone else to Go4Graham and the community that has given Glassmeyer purpose.
“You can do hard things,” Sarah Glassmeyer said. “And come out on the other side.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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