Spirit That Keeps Runners Going - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Spirit That Keeps Runners Going

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Wednesday in our special Million Dollar Marathon report, we introduce you the people that add some spark to this incredible adventure that's running coast to coast for cancer.

The Million Dollar Marathon starts each day well before the sun has even had a chance to wake.

Still, a version of the national anthem, some cowbell and cheering help energize the first runner and the crew.

This crew takes on the huge responsibility of keeping their runners safe.

"Letting them have time by themselves but not too far behind or ahead so they they're comfortable," explained Kenzi Keiser with the marathon crew.

"The runner's safety and enjoying their day is number one priority. So that's what we're out there to do," said Molly Hopkins, also with the crew.

Whether part of the crew or a runner taking care of some miles on the road, every person involved in this marathon has a reason for doing it.

Jennifer Throckmorton from Des Moines flew out to Washington to cross a marathon off her bucket list and continue her health journey.

"One of the big things, everybody told me I couldn't.  Makes me want to try for other people who think they can't do this," she said.

Jennifer has in her words, "lost a bunch of weight" and wants to continue getting healthier.

She also wanted to honor friends and loved ones who've had to fight cancer.

"I think people think it's not really an option for people unless you're really athletic, but I'm gonna finish.  I don't care how long it takes I'm gonna finish," she said.

Dr. Richard Deming, founder of Above and Beyond Cancer, the group that organized this Million Dollar Marathon, says being healthy is one of the best ways to avoid getting cancer or beating it.

"The more we can use our story to excite and inspire people to get off their butts and get out and engage in vigorous physical activity, not only will it make their body stronger, it will improve their quality of life," he said.

Another runner, Keena Delay from Las Vegas, wanted to spark some enthusiasm for her leg of the marathon.

She made honor batons to carry along.

And Keena's friend Renae also had the idea to 'carry' some friends along with her.

"I want to honor all the people I'm running for by writing names on my body so they're always with me," she said.

Through this kind of support, care and commitment, all of these runners and crew members add spirit to the Million Dollar Marathon.

Dr. Deming says that is the backbone of this coast to coast journey.

"The real way that we honor a life that doesn't go on forever is to live with passion and do something crazy like run, get out there and run a marathon."

If you'd like to track the runner's progress you can go to coasttocoastforcancer.org.

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