News Article Details

Running for fun and good causes

Columbus Telegram - 7/24/2018

July 24--There were dozens upon dozens of people ready race on Saturday in the 2018 Downtown Runaround in Columbus, but one who stood out was Columbus teenager in a pink T-shirt sitting in her racing chair ready to go.

Kylie Yates, a Columbus High School sophomore, has cerebral palsy, a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. But on this day, she was just another runner among the crowd with help from Brady Fickenscher, who pushed her chair during the race. Yates' day as an athlete came courtesy of Ainsley's Angels of America, which aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life.

"Inclusion, she's included with everyone else in the race," said her mother, Pam Yates, of why she appreciates the nonprofit organization. "Second is education. We can educate people about the disabilities and bring awareness and thirdly acceptance ... you have the runners cheering them on, as well as spectators."

The 2018 Downtown Runaround, put on by the Columbus Family YMCA, took place on Saturday morning and racers came from all over the state and surrounding ones. Some people came for the enjoyment, some came running with a cause that they are passionate about.

The race offered two options: A 2.1 or 5-mile run. The 5-mile race saw Eric Noel of Lincoln come away with the victory, as he completed the 5-mile course in 26:45. Mary Noel, who is also from Lincoln, had the fastest time of any female at 30:31.

The 2.1-mile race was won by Columbus' own Matt Seiler, who ran a 10:32. Brandi Olmer from Pittsburgh, Kansas, posted the fastest time out of any female ( 14:19).

Ainsley's Angels was one of the many causes that had plenty of support Saturday. Runners representing the group participated with help from volunteers, who pushed the runners in racing chairs the course. That allowed them to join in on the competition while hearing all of the cheers of support from the crowd.

Tyson Tilton helped bring Ainsley's Angles to Nebraska when he became the local ambassador in October. He invited Fickenscher to help out by pushing Kylie Yates through the race. This was Fickenscher's first time running with Ainsley's Angels, he said he is planning on running with the organization again in the state fair half marathon.

"It was awesome, it was a great day to run, and it looked like Kylie had a blast," Fickenscher said. "It was just a great environment."

Fickenscher went on to mention that Ainsley's Angles is a great organization for anyone that is looking to get involved by either running or donating.

Another group of runners came out to run in memory of their friend and family member, Deb Kessler who passed away earlier this year due to an auto accident. Friends and family wearing 'Team Deb' t-shirts were seen up and down the street.

According to Kessler's sister Sue Smith, Kessler enjoyed participating in the Downtown Runaround each year.

"It was a very emotion and sad run for all of Deb's family and friends who participated," said Jane Schumacher, who also spoke for her sisters, Peg Olmer and Sue Smith. "The Downtown Runaround was Deb's favorite race. She was always determined and competitive to better her time, whenever she competed in the race. It was beautiful to see the turnout and know that Deb would have loved all the support."

For more information about Ainsley's Angels, visit

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram reach him via email at


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