Following the establishment of the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation, its founders determined that a major fundraising event was needed to fund scholarships. They wanted to create an event that would not only bring to the forefront of the public’s mind the needs of students with physical disabilities, but also assist the Foundation’s mission of helping those students obtain a college education.
In the Fall of 1999, Nick Gavalas, Ron Kolanko and the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation Board organized the first annual Charleston James Island Connector Run. They believed crossing the Connector would be a challenging route for competitive runners due to the inclination of the bridge, yet a scenic route for casual walkers to enjoy the amazing view of the Charleston Harbor. The race grew from year to year in the early 2000s. In the spring of 2003, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., awarded the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation a proclamation naming the first Saturday of each November as “Students with Disabilities Day.” Later that year, the Charleston James Island Connector Run evolved into the city’s flagship event marking Students with Disabilities Day and honoring the special students in our area who continue to thrive in the classroom despite their special needs.
In 2011, the James Island Connector Run Committee expanded the event to include the only point-to-point 5K run in the state, and a 10K Fun Bike Run.
The Charleston James Island Connector Run has something for everyone: 10K Run/Walk, 5K Run/Walk and 10K Fun Bike Run. Join us and support students with physical disabilities.
There are several ways you can assist the GKF in its mission to provide college scholarships to students with physical disabilities.