Williams Route 66 Marathon: Making a positive impact since 2008

Staff Reports

The Williams Route 66 Marathon is just around the corner and Williams is thrilled to sponsor this globally recognized race for the 11th year in a row. This marathon brings people together from all states, Washinton D.C. and ten countries, totaling about 10,000 participants.

Included in those numbers is Ainsley’s Angels, Williams’ Corporate Challenge Partner.  Ainsley’s Angels is an organization that strives to raise awareness of America’s special needs community through involvement in all parts of life. The organization accomplishes its mission by providing education and participating in local community events such as the Williams Route 66 Marathon.

Amy Shank with one of the Ainsley Angels riders.

Angel Teams participate in races all over the United States. An Angel Team consists of an Angel Athlete-rider, anyone with a disability who rides in the specially-designed racing chair, and Angel Runners, those who have the privilege to push the Athlete-rider’s chair. Williams Director of Pipeline Safety and Asset Integrity, Amy Shank, has been a supporter of Ainsley’s Angels and a participant in the marathon since 2011.

In 2017, Shank first noticed the bright pink wheelchairs sitting at the starting line of the Williams Route 66 Marathon. The look on the faces of the people in the chairs drew Amy in and convinced her that she needed to find out more about the organization. She reached out to Jana Rugg, Ambassador for Ainsley’s Angels in Tulsa, and immediately began doing what she could to help the organization. Jana informed Amy that race wheelchairs were their most significant need. So Shank, along with the help of a Williams Homegrown Giving grant, was able to donate three chairs to the organization.

But Amy did not stop there, she has run as an Angel-Runner three times and hopes to do it more in the future.  When asked about her experience as an Angel Runner, Shank said, “Running, when you are racing individually, is so introspective.  You are very focused on yourself, your effort, your breathing, your hydration. When you are running and pushing one of the Athlete-Riders, it’s all about them.  It’s not about you. It’s a really nice way to give back.” 

Williams’ partnership with the Route 66 Marathon has made a positive impact in the local community over the past 11 years. When you participate in the marathon, whether running in a race or volunteering, you are playing a vital role in supporting our community.  It is not too late to get involved in the races this weekend. Visit the marathon website for details.

Good luck to all the participants!