Spirit Of Valley Forge Award Honors Soldiers

Published: April 26, 2011

Spirit of Valley Forge Award Honors Soldiers', Winner's Determination
Skippack Resident's Mantra: No Excuses, No Limits

King of Prussia, Pa. -- The unrelenting determination of George Washington's Continental soldiers to survive their Valley Forge encampment was personified in Dennis Chippolini, of Skippack, following the sixth annual Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-mile Run, April 18. Chippolin, 58, was named first-ever recipient of the Spirit of Valley Forge - Triumph over Adversity Award.

The award was created by the run's producer, the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau (VFCVB), to reveal and honor someone who overcame adversity and personal challenges akin to those the Continentals endured over the winter of 1777-78.

Chippolini's personal struggle began in 1989 when, following a horrific automobile accident, both his legs were severed and he was told he'd never walk again. While a right leg reattachment was successful, the left was not and he was fitted with a prosthetic limb. More important, from his hospital bed he fitted his psyche with a "No excuses, no limits" mantra he's called upon ever since to see him through numerous challenges. Not the least of them was the completion of three marathons, three half-marathons, two triathlons and two Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-mile Runs. And a parachute jump!

"Grit and determination are what got America's first soldiers through the winter here 233 years ago," said VFCVB President Paul Decker, who presented the award. "Those same characteristics guided Dennis Chippolini to victory over seemingly insurmountable obstacles. What speaks volumes about this man is that he's now spending the rest of his life helping others do the same, as a personal trainer of both challenged and unchallenged clients and motivational speaker."

Chippolini was selected to receive the award from among three finalists through online voting by his Revolutionary Run peers, many of whom hailed him with such praise as "a truly unique individual" and "a great runner and family man."

"I'm accepting this award for everyone; everyone who ran this race and will run it in the future," Chippolini said. "It's really about adversity. We all face it and there's no way around it. Take it and inspire someone else. In doing so, you do change the world, one person at a time."

The 2011 Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-mile Run attracted a record 1,625 registrants, more than 1,100 of whom completed the 5-mile run, 168 participated in the 3-mile walk and 53 ran the one mile Youth Fun Run, executed with the help of the Young Friends of Valley Forge Park. Proceeds, estimated to be in the range of $30,000, will benefit trail maintenance at and other projects identified as needed by officials of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

To learn more about the Spirit of Valley Forge - Triumph over Adversity Award and the Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-mile Run, visit www.revolutionaryrun.org


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