Ability Beyond’s Ridgefield programs — residences for people with disabilities at Sunrise Cottage and on Ritch Drive — have benefited from fund-raising through The Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K for the past 14 years.

Due to the coronavirus, this year the 14th annual Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K will be run as a “virtual race” — participants still run, just not all crowded together — for the first time.

But the goal of supporting Ability Beyond is unchanged.

“We know how important it is to empower every person, no matter their ability, to live, work and thrive as members of this community,” said Barb Nevis, owner of the Southwest Cafe on Danbury Road. “You don’t have to participate in the run to make a difference, but we sure hope you do. We encourage both athletes and non-athletes to consider making a donation directly to these wonderful programs, right on the registration site.”

Although the race will be held virtually due to safety issues with gathering in large crowds, Nevins promised, runners will still get a margarita!

A virtual race?

In a virtual race, runners choose when and where to run during a specific window of time.

Participants in this year’s Southwest Cafe race can run a 5K anytime between July 31 at 12 a.m. and Aug. 2 at 11:59 p.m. They can run anywhere that’s safe, including a treadmill. The organizers discourage running the traditional in-person course as there will be no traffic control or police to guide traffic.

The cost is $20. Runners will receive a tech T-shirt and a race bib, which then becomes a coupon for a margarita. The coupon can be redeemed with the purchase of a take-out dinner from Southwest Café located at 109 Danbury Rd in Ridgefield.

Separate, ‘non-coupon’ bibs will be available for underage runners. One coupon per-person, per-visit, and bib must be presented. The coupon is good one time only, until October 31, 2020.

People may register at runsignup.com/Race/CT/Ridgefield/SouthwestCafeMargarita5K. Additional information will be in a race guide emailed to runners. Direct donations to the program are also being accepted.

Participants will be asked to upload their 5K time to a results page after completing their run. All runners that upload their times will be entered into raffles for gift cards to Southwest Cafe and Ridgefield Running Company. Raffles will be drawn and winners notified on Monday, Aug. 3.

Ability Beyond

Ability Beyond is a non-profit organization that provides a wide range of services for over 3,000 people with disabilities that inhibit their activities of daily living. Among the services Ability Beyond provides are numerous residential alternatives, employment training, career counseling, job placement, cognitive and life skills instruction, clinical and therapeutic support, and volunteer and recreational activities.

Today Ability Beyond, headquartered in Bethel, CT. and Chappaqua, N.Y. extends its services extend beyond the Danbury area throughout Connecticut and New York’s Hudson Valley.

More information about Ability Beyond may be found at www.abilitybeyond.org.