i have run 3 marathons so far.. my first two i ran with the the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program.. this is a program where you raise a certain amount of money for blood-related cancers research in exchange for coaching and free travel/accomodations for your destination marathon. Lots of first-time marathoners go through this program, which has raised many millions of dollars for research. The cure rate for childhood leukemia has gone from 5 to 85 percent in the past few decades and good results have also been achieved with adult cure rates.. so the research must be working. I raised about $5000 total and it was pretty hard..it really really is true what everyone says about fundraising like this, your poorest friends or casual acquaintances, the people you didn't expect much from, are the ones who'll write you a hundred dollar check on the spot.. and if you're lucky and send enough nagging reminders, you might get a lousy five bucks from your wealthy family friends who've known your family for twenty years..c'est la vie.

October 1999, Dublin Marathon, Dublin, Ireland
October 2001, Maine Marathon, Portland, Maine
March 2002, Washington, D.C. Marathon, Washington, D.C.
coming soon: Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Virginia, October 27, 2002

I started running when I was about 12 years old.. I was the captain of my high school cross-country team, finished in the top ten at the Division 2 New England Cross-Country Finals in my freshman year of high school, and ran the 1500 (approx. 2 miles) and 5000 (3.1 miles) on the college indoor/outdoor track teams.. while I am not exactly chunky, I am not your stereotypical stick-thin runner.. I hate it when non-runners say "YOU are going to run a marathon??" If you are actually part of the marathon scene at all, then you know that marathoners come in all shapes and sizes.. in fact, most marathoners do NOT fit the stereotypical image of an elite runner.. many people who finish marathons are even actually kinda big! I've been passed by a couple in their 70s, and I've passed people who fit the stereotypical runner image more than I do.. my best time is 3:57 for the 26.2 mile distance, but I want to qualify for Boston someday, which would require me to run 3:40 or better..
Why do I run? Running is a terrific stress-reliever and it makes me feel good about myself.. both physically and mentally.. because it is a rhythmic exercise it is a bit trance-inducing and is a great way to calm your mind and get out a day's frustration.. there is a history of depression in my family and running has really helped me battle some of this.. so it didn't surprise me that medical studies are starting to show that running can work as well as drugs in cases of moderate depression..
the Runner's World website has all the information you need to start running or improve if you are already "one of us.."