Utah startup hosts first 5K race in American Fork


Runners of all ages and skill levels huddled around the starting line with excitement, jumping up and down to keep warm on a chilly November morning. Some were young children; others were adults. Some were seasoned runners; others were racing for the first time.

Promptly at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, the Freeze Your Cookies Off 5K started at the American Fork Fitness Center. The race was hosted by Cookie Athlete, and portions of the proceeds went to Choice Humanity, a charity based in Salt Lake City.

Jennifer Christiansen is the general manager of Cookie Athlete and described the organization as a “group of athletes who actually work out because we love cookies.”

Cookie Athlete tries to encourage a healthy balance between exercise and treats like cookies through their Cookie of the Month program. Members receive cookies from a different bakery each month along with a workout.

After the race, athletes were treated to a gourmet cookie buffet and hot chocolate.

Emily McKenzie and Jenny Brumble were two of the more experienced runners. The women made a goal to run a race at least once a month. They chose this race for the cookies and because it was “casual and more laid back.”

Collin Park is a sophomore at Timpanogos High School on the cross country team, and although he’s required to run three races for a grade, he likes that the organization gives money to charities.

“I just run the races and hope it goes to a good cause,” Park said.

The Freeze Your Cookies Off 5K was the organization’s first step into races since it began in 2006, and a portion of the registration fee paid by runners goes towards humanitarian work in Guatemala.

Richard Christiansen is one of the owners of Cookie Athlete and a self-described bootstrap entrepreneur and brought a group of teenagers to Guatemala this past summer to build a school in a small village.

Christiansen has helped fund three stay-at-home moms so they can create businesses about their passions, Cookie Athlete being one of those.

Christiansen is the author of “The Zigzag Principle” that teaches “people how to take $5,000 to $10,000 and build a multimillion dollar business,” Christiansen said.

Christiansen has founded, or co-founded, 13 multimillion-dollar businesses with just $5,000 startup money. “I provided the funding but more important than the funding is the mentoring,” Christiansen said. “One in 10 small businesses succeed, but with my program 1 in 3 succeed, so it increases your odds of success.”

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