NEW BRITAIN - For race director Marvin Bowe, the second annual Connecticut Outdoor Challenge at Walnut Hill Park in New Britain on Saturday meant much more than just another inline skating race. It’s a way for him to honor his mother, Patricia Robinson, who had always been a strong support system throughout Bowe’s life.
“I remember I was five years old and my mom and I walked by a bunch of kids on skates,” Bowe said. “And I was like, ‘Mom, I want to try that.’ So she said, ‘Alright, let’s give it try.’ Ever since then, she was my backbone on my bad days and my good days.”
Robinson passed away in February after a battle with dementia. Bowe admitted the loss has been extremely difficult for him, but he knew he had to honor her. That led to him creating the first “Skate for a Cure 3K Mini Skate/Walk.”
“I definitely wanted to give her a ‘thank you’ and do something in her honor,” Bowe said. “It’s sort of like this thing where you have to go through something in order to make you want to do something. I get that now. I felt responsible to do something. I think this is a great way of doing that.”
The event is designed to raise awareness and T-shirts were also sold at the event, with all proceeds donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in an effort to research a cure.
Bowe organizing the 3K walk stems from his career as a marketer and designer. That, on top of being a race director, can be challenging, but Bowe remembers one thing his mother taught him at a young age.
“I always naturally wanted to plan events,” Bowe said. “I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew. I knew I could do it. I took the initiative because sometimes you have to just jump in. That’s something my mom told me countless times, ‘you just have to jump in and trust yourself.’”
Bowe hopes to use inline skating to get more involved in the community and to teach young kids about the sport, the same way his mother helped him growing up.
“She was always there for me, so I was lucky,” Bowe said. “I want to get the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club involved. My hope is to have more workshops and instructional classes in the winter as well. That way, we can continue to grow the sport around here.”
In Bowe’s eyes, his mother may be gone, but she will always be connected through him, and through speed skating.
“Everyone around here knew her,” Bowe said. “She cheered everyone on. She handed them water when they were done. She was like everyone else’s mom too. If she was still alive, she would be out here doing it right now.”