Sunday's race to help families affected by cancer

13th Hot Chili eight-miler in Andover

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  • Start of last year's Hot Chili 8 Miler. This annual race has sustained for over a decade, and the 13th running will be held this Sunday at Kittatinny Valley State Park.

By Laurie Gordon

— The Hot Chili Challenge eight-mile trail run and five-kilometer races are coming this Sunday (October 15) to Kittatinny Valley State Park. They're for a great cause and your reward for running is some outstanding chili and other eats afterward.

The race benefits The Sussex County Women's Forum (SCWF) which is a 501C(3) non-profit organization dedicated to assisting women and their families whose lives are impacted by a cancer diagnosis.

Said founder Mare Galeos, “The SCWF strives to provide early detection services, support and resources to the women of Sussex and surrounding counties. The organization is composed of women helping other women on a one-to-one basis to offer guidance and companionship on the journey of healing. “

Galeos is particularly pleased that the race will be celebrating 13 years.

“That's hard to do,” she said.

While some running races are able to sustain year after year, many die out after a few years as sponsorship, participation and volunteers can become hard to come by.

“Last year we had 323 runners in both races combined,” Galeos said. “That's about 100 more than 2016. Salt Shaker Runner Club participates heavily in this race. Not only do I have people who do all three race events I actually have runners who will email they can't make the event but will see me the following year, and runners who will mail in race fee as a donation if they can't make it. In all my life I have never met a more generous, compassionate and fun-loving group than my trail runners.”

The race features a challenging 8 mile trail run followed by a 5K which is on pretty flat trail. The traisl that wind through Kittatinny Valley State Park are beautiful, and coupled with the foliage this time of year make the Chili events a great way to enjoy nature.

There will be cash awards for the eight miler with $100 for the top male and female finishers, $75 for second place male and female and $50 for third male and female. There will be trophies for these winners as well and trophies for the winners in the 5K. Medals will be given to winners in five year age groups and finisher medals for everyone in the eight mile.

Galeos said, “Over the years I've come to this conclusion: I may have provided the garden, tilled the soil a bit. But my runners plant the seeds of compassion and they return every year to nurture this ever-flourishing garden. They and my awesome volunteers are solely responsible for the success of this organization.”

Check in starts at 8:30 am on Sunday with the eight mile kicking off at 10 am. The 5K will follow at 10:15. Kittatinny Valley State Park is located at 199 Gooddale Road in Newton, and you can find further information and course maps at: Registration is $40 for adults and $10 for kids under age 13 with all proceeds benefiting the Sussex County Women's Forum. There will be long sleeved color shirts and following the race, participants will enjoy rolls, coffee, hot dogs, snack bars, water, music by a DJ, raffle drawings and if course some great homemade chili.

The Sussex County Women's Forum aims to provide digital mammography and breast ultrasound services for all women of Sussex County and its surrounding areas, a resource center for ancillary services, breast and ovarian cancer groups and support for family and friends.

For further information about he race or cause, visit

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