Utah startup hosts first 5K race in American Fork

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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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