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relay running

Calling All Runners! Help Fight Cancer By Joining a Coast to Coast Relay

Written on July 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm , by

Lymphoma survivor Michelle Flattery filled her shirt with the names of everyone she was running her 26.2 miles for. (Photo courtesy of Above + Beyond Cancer)

How many people do you know who have been affected by cancer? A shocking 41 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease during his or her lifetime, according to research by the National Cancer Institute.

Another surprising stat: One-third of cancer cases are caused by poor diet and lack of activity. A group of ambitious athletes, many of then cancer survivors themselves, are seeking to inspire others to affect that statistic, all while raising money to support more research about the disease.

For the past month, the Million Dollar Marathon (and a baton stuffed with prayer flags which honor those who have fought/are fighting cancer) has been making its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. About 160 people signed on to run or walk a marathon along the route while raising money for cancer-related charities, with an overall goal of fundraising $1 million. To date, the team has raised nearly $500,000 and has its sights set on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on August 1.

Yesterday, FITNESS hopped in along the course in Illinois as Ames, Iowa resident Ashley Poppe ran her first marathon in honor of her friend Kerri. Despite struggling with tendinitis all through training, Poppe completed all of her miles (and finished with a smile). She has raised more than $6,000 for the cause, too. The “magic” baton has inspired participants to power through rain, 100°+ heat, injuries and the longest runs of their lives.

“Each time you think you’ve found your favorite moment from the trip, another even more amazing one happens four hours later,” said Steve Cannon, who dreamt up the 4,000-mile coast-to-coast relay after running 40 marathons in 40 days (solo) around Lake Michigan last summer. Recently, the event has taken on even greater meaning for Cannon, as his sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Inspired to take part in this epic journey? It’s not too late—and you can carry the baton for as many miles as you want (26.2 miles is not a requirement). The Million Dollar Marathon is still looking to fill slots in West Virginia on July 26 and 27, so if  you’re ready for a challenge, email steve@aboveandbeyondcancer.org.

Fit Blogger We Love: Health on the Run

Written on January 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm , by

Lauren dons her favorite color combo during a race!

Head on over to Health on the Run and you’ll find a girl who seriously loves running and isn’t afraid to show it. Lauren manages a hectic racing schedule, a busy work life and keeps up with, well, her health, while donning her famous watermelon color combination. Throw in a social life and wedding planning (she’s recently engaged—congrats!) and we wonder how Lauren juggles it all. So we figured we’d ask. Read on to find out what keeps her pushing through tough runs and where her happy place is.

On my fit life list: If you ever read my blog, you may figure out rather quickly that I’m sort of obsessed with 200-mile relays—when you pile into two vans with 11 other crazy runners and run for 24-plus hours straight. My life’s goal is to find a sponsor who will allow me to be a professional relay runner (although I’d create a super official-sounding title for myself, of course). I will bring my bright watermelon race outfits and enthusiasm; you bring the coffee and snacks.

But since no sponsors seem to be coming forward, other big items on my fit life list are:

  • Hike the Appalachian Trail
  • Run a major marathon in another country, especially London
  • Run a three-hour marathon
  • Start my own race/race series—the medals may or may not be in watermelon colors
  • Become a high school cross country coach. High school is where I fell in love with running and I would love to be able to inspire young athletes the same way that my coaches motivated me.

I’m happiest when I’m: Outside in the mountains. I know I live in the city, but I’m really a country girl at heart. Give me a cabin on top of a mountain and I’ll be a happy camper. Well, as long as I have my fiance, EC, and my dog…and the Internet…and maybe a group of friends to run with, too.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: “I Am Woman” by Jordin Sparks. It’s so incredibly cheesy and the lyrics are pretty awful, but I still belt it out when I need a motivation boost.

My fitness mantra: “Mentally tough, physically strong.” Back when I was just getting into the sport of running and struggling with managing my asthma, my mom used to repeat that phrase whenever I seemed to be fading on a run. It’s simple and sort of rhythmic when you say it over and over again. To this day, I still repeat it whenever I’m struggling during a long run or race.

My biggest indulgence: Ice cream. I love it year-round and can never seem to pass up a sale at the grocery store. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that it’s not unheard of for me to have three or four open cartons in my freezer at one time. And yes, I live alone.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com