NF Endurance and the Philly Marathon

November 14, 2012

On November 18, I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon, roughly eight months after my last marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll USA. I am excited. I am nervous. I am also proud. Proud because I will be running as part of the NF Endurance team and helping to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF).

I raced several shorter distances throughout the summer months and tried to maintain my fitness level. I wanted to be able to give the marathon another shot before the end of 2012. The Marine Corps Marathon just seemed a little too soon. I set my sights on Philadelphia, a mid-November race with a fast reputation. It also—as I always understood—never fills up. A late sign-up would be possible. I could train for a few weeks and see how it went before committing. The goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon was still at the forefront of my mind. I planned out a rigorous training regiment and started to log the miles.

As an astute runner friend later questioned, “who trains for a marathon without actually signing up?” Of course, in my procrastination, the race sold out literally the weekend I had planned to register (really). Another other option would be to raise money for one of the race’s official charity partners. I spent the next few days researching causes. If crunch time was going to mean crazy mileage and fundraising, I was going to be doing it for something I could really support.

Enter the CTF. I scoured the marathon’s charity partner page for a few days and pretty easily decided on this cause. The CTF hopes to put an end to neurofibromatosis (NF) through research. From their website:

Neurofibromatosis encompasses a set of distinct genetic disorders that cause tumors to grow along various types of nerves and, in addition, can affect the development of non-nervous tissues such as bones and skin. Neurofibromatosis causes tumors to grow anywhere on or in the body.

When I signed up to join the team, I was welcomed by an extremely friendly staff and told about the “adopt a hero” program. They connect people running with their NF Endurance team to a child experiencing neurofibromatosis and the family. Wanting to be as much involved in the charity as possible, I quickly jumped at the opportunity. I had the good fortune of being introduced to Conal and his family. Conal is a third grader who also happens to have neurofibromatosis. His dad, Nick, wrote a long email about his son’s history and conveyed their sense of living for the present, as the future is always uncertain. The video Nick made and shared with me speaks for itself. It is both informative and moving.

If you have already contributed, I cannot thank you enough. If you are interested in checking out my personal donation page, click here. I have already surpassed my fundraising goal, so do this for the cause, for the CTF. Do it for Conal and his family, and the countless others like them.

Conal is a real rock star, and a true hero. He will be in my heart every mile on Sunday.

If the video does not load, please click here.



  1. Good luck on Sunday and good luck to Conal. Let’s hope a cure is found soon.

  2. May the wind always be at your back tomorow (both directions if that’s possible). Run well, be safe and good luck.

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