Past Heroes of the Marathon

2013 Heroes of the Marathon & Half

Roberta horn


Roberta Horn was born with club feet - a congenital deformity where the affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle. Doctors told Roberta she would never be able to run.

Her condition made her embarrassed and ashamed as other children and adults often stared at her. She avoided situations and activities where her deformity would be exposed - activities such as swimming with friends and going to the beach.

As a child, Roberta received extensive surgeries followed by years of physical therapy and at age 8, Roberta was finally able to play outside. Roberta thrived after her club foot surgeries and physical therapy, even taking up running and surfing.

In 1992, Roberta was faced with yet another challenge when she was involved in a car accident that left Roberta with a broken neck.  The required surgery to repair her neck was risky and impaired her ability - yet again - to walk and perform daily functions. Her recovery required her to wear a halo brace and receive physical therapy to relearn how to walk.  Doctors told Roberta that she would most likely never be able to play sports or run again.

Although it took several years, Roberta defied the odds yet again, and returned to her beloved sport of running. Today, at the young age of 53, Roberta runs 5 to 6 days a week.

Roberta will be running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon as a member of Team Fresh Start. This will be her first marathon!

Hayley Johnston 


Hayley and her father Bill have been involved in the fight against Huntington's disease for over a decade. They are passionate about finding a cure for this lethal disease.

Hayley's mother, Ramona, has Huntington’s disease and is currently in the later stages. Huntington’s disease is an inherited brain disorder that results in the progressive loss of both mental faculties and physical control. Ultimately, the weakened individual succumbs to pneumonia, heart failure or other complications.

Each year, Hayley runs the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon to raise awareness and funds for Huntington’s disease. Over the years, she and her father have raised over $500,000 for Huntington’s disease research. Because Hayley’s mother, Ramona has the disease, Hayley has a 50/50 chance of developing it. Hayley is young, vibrant and determined, and she is tremendously dedicated to the Huntington’s disease community and to finding a cure.

Hayley will be participating in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon.

Tommy Sablan 


Known by many as “Little Tommy,” Tommy Sablan has produced the popular Jeff and Jer Radio Show for 25 years. Over those years, Tommy has used the show as a platform for constant community service and philanthropy.

His most known endeavor is the yearly "Breaking and Entering Christmas,” an event that helps many families in need at Christmas. He is co-founder of the "Hopes and Dreams Academy" which mentors at-risk teens and he frequently speaks to teens about the dangers of drug abuse.

In 2010, just weeks after the San Diego community was devastated to learn of the murder of high-school standout Chelsea King while she was running, Tommy and a few others rallied and quickly organized "Finish Chelsea's Run" – now an annual event.  

Tommy was also instrumental in the creation of a local women’s shelter. After an anonymous woman named “Becky” called the radio show to tell her domestic violence story, Tommy took personal leadership to rescue her from her situation. His efforts and this widely known story led to the creation of “Becky’s House.”

Tommy’s contributions to charitable concerns and individuals are numerous. He is a rare individual who rolls ups his sleeves and gets involved in the lives of others and helps wherever and whenever he can.

Tommy will be participating in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon.

Mike Harding 



Mike and Sara Harding married at a young age and always planned on having many children. After many years of trying Sara became pregnant and the couple was thrilled.

When they learned the baby Sara was carrying was a boy, they decided to name him Seamus. Seamus was due in January but on December 29, Sara went into labor. Immediately after delivery, doctors could tell something was very wrong as Seamus could not breathe on his own.

After days of testing at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, Mike and Sara were told that Seamus was born without all of his brain and would not be able to survive on his own. Despite this heartbreaking news, Sara and Mike acted selflessly and inquired if Seamus could be an organ donor. The hospital had concerns because Seamus was premature and weighed just over five pounds, and they were not accustomed to working with such a small donor. Mike and Sara were adamant about sharing his organs. They wanted their son to be able to help another child in need and spare another family the same pain of losing a child.

With Mike and Sara’s insistence, the hospital was able to find the resources necessary to give Seamus’ kidneys to a 50-year-old woman who was on dialysis and in desperate need of a transplant. Seamus’ liver cells were also collected to help other children in need of a liver transplant. Both procedures are relatively new and on the cutting edge of medicine. In the face of unimaginable heartache, Mike, Sara and Seamus saved a life and enhanced the lives of others.

Mike will be walking the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon with the Donate Life team in honor of Seamus.

Guor Marial



Guor Marial is a survivor. As a young child, Guor was kidnapped and forced to work in Sudan as a child laborer. Sudanese police broke his jaw with their rifle butts while arresting an uncle who they accused of working with south Sudanese rebels. In 1994, at the age of eight, Guor fled from a refugee camp during the Sudanese Civil War - a war that has robbed Guor of so much including 28 family members, eight of whom were his brothers and sisters. Though his parents survived the civil war, Guor has not seen them in 20 years.

At the age of 16, Guor was granted refugee status by the United States and moved to Concord, New Hampshire where he attended high school and began participating in track and field. Through a scholarship he then went on to Iowa State University and became an All-American Athlete his junior year.

Guor ran his first full marathon in 2012 finishing in 2:14:32 - a time that met the London 2012 Olympics Marathon qualifying standard. Through the tireless efforts of many, Guor became the first athlete to ever compete in the Olympics without a country.

Guor will be making his half marathon debut as he competes in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon.

Guor is a true hero. Despite overcoming obstacles of marathon proportions, he has persevered to stay on course and get to the start and finish lines.


2012 Heroes of the Marathon & Half

justin feria


Justin Feria’s first heart scare came in August 2008 when he had a difficult time breathing on a flight home from New York. At the USD Student Clinic Center, Feria was told he likely had bronchitis and was given antibiotics. The symptoms returned six weeks later but “10 times worse” according to Justin.

He was hospitalized for four days of testing and ultimately was diagnosed with an enlarged and weakened heart. He was put on a drug program but by January, his body wasn’t creating enough energy to keep him warm even in an 85 degree room.

He returned to the hospital for two weeks of testing, had a pacemaker and a defibrillator installed and was put on a list to receive a transplant. Given a pager and told to be no more than an hour away from the hospital, Feria waited. During this time he held intimate conversations with family and friends. His basic message was that he’d done a lot of things in his life and that if something were to happen, not to mourn him. Fortunately Justin’s family did not have to deal with mourning because on March 20, 2009, he received the fateful phone call – he had a heart.

Justin rallied other heart recipients to do the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon to prove how healthy they are.

byron moore 


At age 49, while attending an emergency physicians conference in Florida, a virus caused Bryon’s heart to go into a life threatening rhythm. Suddenly, this paramedic and EMS responder went from being the caregiver to being the patient. Fourteen months later he was placed on the heart transplant list. The virus Bryon had was very aggressive and made him so ill he wasn’t allowed to return home. If he were going to leave the hospital alive, it would have to be by the blessing of a donated heart. While he waited, his heart got progressively worse. Bryon drew strength from the support of his family and friends. On April 23, 2010, Bryon received his new lease on life and what he calls his “round number two on Jeopardy.” Bryon is back working in the field alongside firefighters and paramedics making a difference in people’s lives. He feels blessed that he’s able to help patients on the transplant waiting list and their families navigate their way on what his friend calls “the roller coaster.”

Michael Brucker 



Dr. Michael Brucker has always been a talented man – but it is his talent and compassion combined that make him a truly great man. Dr. Brucker is a volunteer plastic surgeon with Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a nonprofit organization committed to transforming the lives of disadvantaged children with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related healthcare services. All Fresh Start Surgical Gifts medical treatments are provided free to children and their families, and it is Dr. Brucker’s talent and compassion that has allowed Fresh Start Surgical Gifts to transform the lives of over 5,500 children to date.

Dr. Brucker started volunteering with Fresh Start in 2003, and since then he has volunteered over 450 hours performing medical procedures, not including the countless additional hours he has spent volunteering at fundraising events and serving on the Fresh Start Board of Directors.

Dr. Brucker’s compassion and surgical prowess make him a real hero in the eyes of his patients.  



kevin huff 


Late last year Kevin started noticing he couldn’t keep up with the Navy Seals he often ran with. He thought he was getting out of shape. During a vacation in Maui, his wife Sara noticed Kevin was taking longer to walk up a little hill with her. With her encouragement, Kevin went to his doctor on January 4, 2011 where he was diagnosed with heart failure. After four days of testing he was sent home with a diuretic and an ace inhibitor and told to come back in three months for another checkup. A week before the scheduled checkup, Kevin suffered a stroke.

While recovering from the stroke, Kevin received a heart transplant work up. Kevin had been in the ICU for 32 days when he received the news of his new heart. Early the morning of May 7, 2011, Kevin had a new beating heart and a new lease on life.  




Marissa was just 23 when she was diagnosed with lymphoma 18 months ago. She endured chemotherapy with all that goes with it but unfortunately, the chemo didn’t significantly reduce the tumors on her spine and femur. She then underwent radiation which fortunately was helpful. Because of the tumor on her spine, it was necessary for her to wear a molded back brace for spine stability and she was not able to do any exercise. For a normally very active young woman, this was very difficult.

Marissa is now in remission. She is focusing her efforts on beating this illness and living a healthy lifestyle. Marissa has been training with Team in Training and will be participating in the Tri-City Medical Center Half Marathon. She has made the choice to fight this disease and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in an effort to help others. She has had a positive and upbeat attitude despite her illness and the side effects that the chemo and radiation therapy caused. Marissa is a role model for young adults with cancer.




Robert French is 45-year-old married father of two. Robert retired from the Navy in 2005 and is currently attending National University majoring in Computer Information Systems. In 2007 he began having symptoms from atrial flutter and cardiomyopathy – enlargement of the heart – which turned out to be caused from a gene mutation in his family. In June of 2008 he was told he would need a new heart and was placed on the heart transplant waiting list. Four months later on November 29th Robert received the phone call that would save his life. It was a call informing him that he had a donor and to get to the hospital for the lifesaving transplant procedure.

Since receiving his transplant Robert spends his time enjoying life. He routinely visits patients on the transplant waiting list to let them know that a heart transplant is “not the end of your life, it’s just the beginning of the rest of your life.” Robert also spends time volunteering with Donate Life San Diego. 




Sally has been a longtime, dedicated volunteer to Huntington’s Disease Society of America serving on its Board of Directors for the San Diego Chapter for 14 years. Huntington’s Disease is a disorder passed down through families in which nerve cells in certain parts of the brain waste away or degenerate.  It is a terminal disease which causes disability and gets worse over time.

Sally has run the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon a handful of times and has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Huntington’s Disease San Diego. She has also brought significant awareness to both the organization and the cause. In the fall of 2011, Sally’s 22-year-old son Forrester and his girlfriend passed away in a tragic car accident.  Sally is running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon along with a handful of other runners in honor of her son. Despite her loss, Sally continues to raise funds and awareness for Huntington’s Disease and to live each day to the fullest.



John and Gloria are living examples that age is but a number.  While some want diamonds for their anniversary gift, this couple decided their gift was the gift of health and they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year by training for and running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon. Both John and Gloria are 70 years young and have traveled to Carlsbad from Canada to participate. Despite previous health issues (high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis) they received medical clearance and have decided to serve as inspirational role models for their kids, grandkids and an entire generation. The message they send to all of us is “You’re never too old to challenge yourself, work hard, and to achieve new dreams!”





San Diego is a military town and the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon proudly supports the military.  Being a military spouse is one of the toughest jobs in the military and so we’re proud to recognize Denise Chirgwin, who represents hundreds of thousands of military spouses throughout our country.

Denise is a Navy wife and has been through three long deployments over the past few years.  While her husband is far away for deployments of six months or more, Denise takes care of everything at home including their young son. As most single parents know, this is no easy feat. Denise is also an active partner for the spouses club of her husband’s squadron and is working on starting her own business.  With all that, it is hard to imagine the dedication and commitment it took for her to train for the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon – her first race longer than a 5K.  We commend Denise for tackling a large goal and once again proving to herself and others that you can overcome any hardship. Denise’s husband recently returned from a deployment and will be running the full marathon.




Angelina Renteria is the physical activity specialist at Indian Health Council. She is a leader, motivator and shining example to others. When members of the surrounding American Indian tribes come to her, it’s because their doctors told them to take control of their diabetes, obesity and other health issues.

Angelina understands that people aren’t motivated to change their lifestyle when it’s a chore, so instead she’s made personal health a matter of community service. She’s recruited an entire team to run with her for Team Running Strong, a charity that raises funds and awareness for American Indian youth. By encouraging her team members to run for something bigger than themselves, Team Running Strong SoCal has pledged to raise over $10,000 for their fellow native youth. Under the leadership of Angelina, team members are learning to take control of their diabetes, obesity and cholesterol through exercise and nutrition.

“Many of them won’t run for themselves or for their own benefit, but they will do it for their community… and in giving back to their community, they are giving themselves the gift of better health.” Angelina will be running the half marathon.



2011 Heroes of the Marathon & Half

Andrea Marin

andrea marin 2011 hero

Andrea is participating in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon and raising funds for Team2Cure HD for HDSA - San Diego. HD, short for Huntington’s Disease, is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no cure. HD slowly diminishes one’s ability to walk, talk and reason. Andrea is passionate about finding a cure for this disease because one year ago, it claimed the life of her beautiful sister Cindy at the young age of 30. Cindy is survived by her 16-year-old daughter Darleen who is currently also at risk for HD. Though Cindy lost her life to this disease, her battle is still being waged in spirit through Andrea’s determination to find a cure. (Photo from left to right includes Andrea, her sister Cindy and niece Darleen.)


Matt Keolanui

matt keolanui 2011 hero


One year ago Matt suddenly lost his central vision to a rare genetic disorder called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). Despite becoming legally blind, Matt continues to maintain outstanding grades, play basketball and persevere. Matt will be participating in the Kids Marathon Mile as a member of the Doheny Eye Institute/LHON Research team.


Jill Drawbridge

jill drawbridge 2011 hero 



Jill will be at the start line of the half marathon because her brother, her hero can’t. Rob lost his battle with melanoma this past November at age 49, three year’s after his diagnosis. In Rob, Jill had her “life-guard” and Rob was a real lifeguard and a guarder of lives in his town growing up. Rob was a boy scout, police explorer, lifeguard, ski patrol, and fireman. He cared about everyone and would have given anyone the shirt off of his back. After Rob was diagnosed with Melanoma he continued to act as a volunteer fireman in his hometown. Jill believes that Rob and she shared the same chance of getting Melanoma, but feels that Rob was looking out for her and fought a good fight so she would not have to.


Owen Cobb

owen cobb 2011 hero



As an infant, 35-year-old Owen Cobb, suffered a severe bone infection called Osteomyelitis. The infection caused his left hip to deteriorate in a degenerative manner, so much so, that even at the age of 10, Owen had the stiffness and arthritis in his hip of an eighty-year-old. Owen never let the pain, limited range of motion or inflexibility dictate his life. He always found a way to “keep up,” playing sports and finding new strength and comfort in the water through swimming and eventually his first love: surfing. March 2010, Owen underwent a total hip replacement surgery. With a new titanium and ceramic hip, and after months of physical therapy at the Tri-City Wellness Center, Owen is looking forward to the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon where he’ll accomplish a feat that for most of his life seemed out of reach.


Geoffrey Colton

geoffrey colton 2011 hero


After 10 years spent abusing drugs and alcohol and 13 years smoking, Geoffrey decided one day that enough was enough. Since becoming sober in 2009, and after being chosen as a member of the inaugural Tri-City Medical Center “Lucky 13” contest, Geoffrey completed his first half marathon last January. Since then, he has not stopped. Over the past 13 months, Geoffrey has completed 12 half marathons and one full marathon. Geoffrey took the mistakes he’d made in his life and has turned them into something positive. He leads by example and encourages his friends, family, co-workers and everyone around him to get out and exercise and to change the things in life that they can. Over the past year, Geoffrey has gone from a penniless abuser to a millionaire in health and there is no end in sight!


Regan King

regan king 2011 hero



Regan King began losing his vision in 1998, four years after joining the Marine Corps. The doctors did not know the cause of the vision loss and they estimated he would go completely blind within 10 years. Regan has a rare disease called Stargartz which is slowly making his retina deteriorate, causing him to go blind. Despite his disability, Regan remains on active duty in the Marine Corps serving as the Communications Officer for a UAV squadron in Twentynine Palms, and has served his country honorably for more than 16 years. In fact, Regan just returned from a 7-month tour to Afghanistan in November. Though there are many things Regan can no longer do, like read small print, catch a baseball, or even tell which child is his at his son’s football game, Regan still enjoys running and this will be his seventh marathon.


Heather Humes

heather humes 2011 hero


32-year-old, Heather Humes has a genetic lung disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Heather’s been at death’s door numerous times due to CF. She has to fight harder than the average person to achieve most things. Heather, never a fan of exercise, mainly because of of a deformity in her knee joints that cause them to dislocate frequently, never imagined she’d be able to walk a half marathon. Heather lives by the expression “Don’t tell me I can’t do something.” In January 2009, after giving birth to her twin-daughters, Heather set a goal and challenged herself to complete the Carlsbad Half Marathon by her twin daughters’ 2nd birthday. Heather will meet that challenge and will be at the start line on Sunday.


Ashlee Ernst

Ashlee Ernst 2011 hero 


Ashlee Ernst was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 6 years ago at the age of 10. Since then, Ashlee became a member of Insulindependence, an organization that offers fitness and adventure programs for people with diabetes. Ashlee has not let her disease stop her and once led a group of teenagers and adults to a 14,000-foot peak in the Collegiate Peaks of Colorado. As a result of her successful summit, Ashlee was then asked to join the Insulindependence team at the Denver Marathon. She accepted the challenge and completed her first half marathon in under 3 hours. Ashlee’s 16th birthday present from her parents was a ticket to Carlsbad to join the Insulindependence team at the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon. Ashlee’s commitment to her health and to the Insulindependence organization are impressive and show a maturity most don’t posses at such a young age. Ashlee turned a negative situation into something positive and despite her diabetes, has already accomplished more than many people do in a lifetime.


Tom Kumenacker

Tom Kumenacker 2011 hero 


Tom Krumenacker was born with congenital scarring of the liver and waited 10 years to receive a life-changing liver transplant. On May 4th, 2004 Tom’s sister-in-law donated 60% of her liver to him. This live donation was the start of a new life for Tom and his family. Shortly after his surgery, Tom started walking then jogging and now he and his sister-in-law are avid runners. Tom, along with Dr. Christopher Marsh who performed his life-saving surgery, will run the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon on as part of the American Liver Foundation’s Liver Life Challenge Team.


ZYLER Zartun

Zyler Zartun 2011 hero


At age two, Zyler Zartun was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Since being diagnosed, Zyler has become an advocate for active diabetes management. Zyler does not let his disease stop him from living life all out and is a ready and capable spokesperson for juvenile diabetes. Among other accomplishments, Zyler has skated as a guest with Nemo in Disney on Ice and starred in an American Diabetes Association (ADA) commercial. A near-death experience this past year made Zyler even more determined to take personal control of his diabetic management. Zyler has been training to run the fastest mile possible – so look for him to speed past you at this year’s Kids Marathon Mile at LEGOLAND.


Team Semper Fi

team semper fi 


The heart and inspiration of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund’s (IMSFF) athletic program, Team Semper Fi is made up of service members who have received or who qualify for assistance from IMSFF. The idea for Team Semper Fi was inspired by those wounded Marines and Sailors who refused to let their challenges prevent them from competing in athletic events, and whose drive and determination has been an inspiration to us all. Members of Team Semper Fi are servicemen and women who have overcome significant challenges in their service to our country and have embraced the fighting, athletic spirit on their road recovery.

The Team running in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon includes a Sergeant who though paralyzed and blind, will take on the road through a team effort of Marines and Corpsman pushing him in a specially adapted chair.


Lynn Flanagan

lynn & travis


The positive impact Lynn has made in the lives of so many in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon, the community and beyond is staggering. More than half-a-million adults and children have crossed In Motion events’ finish lines. Millions of dollars have been raised for charities. Tens of thousands of people have had their lives forever changed and enriched because of the many physical and emotional benefits of exercise, camaraderie and sense of accomplishment derived from training for, and finishing, In Motion events. As Lynn ever-so-slowly eases into semi-retirement, we are humbled to honor Lynn, to thank her and to name her as an official Hero of the Marathon.


2010 Heroes of the Marathon & Half

terry leach - 2101 cm heroTerry Leach
Terry Leach is 12 years old and was diagnosed at the age of 5 with a degenerative illness called Juvenile Huntington’s Chorea. Juvenile HD as it’s referred, is rare and in fact, Terry is the first known case in San Diego. The illness makes it hard for Terry to walk so he uses a wheelchair a lot. He often chokes when eating or drinking and lost his ability to talk three years ago. Despite everything Terry is a seventh grader getting straight A’s. Though his illness causes him to miss out on a lot of things,  he always wakes with a smile and goes to sleep with a smile. His mom calls him her “angel.”

Moses Christina - 2010 cm hero

Moses Christian
Seventy-seven year old Moses Christian is a 10-year prostate cancer survivor.  In spite of this setback, he continues to work as a full-time surgeon and helps many people less fortunate than himself by donating his time and money for low-cost healthcare.  He has run over 200 marathons since taking up the sport at the age of 60. 

Moses has run 16 marathons in the last year and will start 2010 off with the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon

Follow up: Moses completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon in a time of 5:20:02.

Dana Casanave - 2010 cm heroDana Casanave

Dana is a 28-year-old wife, mother, runner and personal trainer from Leesburg, VA. In 2003 Dana weighed over 235 pounds. Then she discovered running.   In 2006 she ran her first race and was completely hooked. In 2008 she ran the Marine Corps Marathon for the charity “25:40” and this year will run 52 marathons to support this nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children in South Africa survive the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many of these children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and many are HIV positive themselves.  25:40 supports and fosters the creation of orphanages, health clinics, day care centers, schools and other entities that are critical to the care and health development of children impacted by AIDS. 

Dana says “I am calling this journey ‘52 Beginnings’, and each of my 52 races will be run for a different orphan from the Ngqeleni District in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.” 

Follow up: Dana completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon in a time of 4:09:24.

suzi vietti - 2010 cm heroSuzi Vietti
Suzi Vietti, a fifty-nine-year old resident of Chanute, Kansas, has had Type 1 diabetes for forty-five years but has never let her disease control her life. She’s a proficient water skier and snow skier, and enjoys many other sports like golf and bowling.  She also flies a light sport aircraft and has earned the distinction of being the first female sport pilot in America.

In 2004, Suzi noticed numbness in both legs and was soon diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a potentially debilitating disease that affects only a very few people in a million.  The prognosis was grim and she was told she may never walk again.  After being released from the hospital, she underwent months of physical therapy, first learning to walk again.  Slowly, tediously, she was able to jog a few steps, then farther and steadier.  And just one year after her release from the hospital, she and her twin daughters ran a half marathon.

She is running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon with other runners from Glucomotive, a group of diabetic runners who refuse to allow their disease to stop them.  She is also running to raise funds for Insulindependence.

Follow up: Suzi completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in a time of 2:58:40.

bob skold - 2010 cm heroBob Skold
Bob Skold from Greenwood Village, Colorado has NF2 – neurofibromatosis.  When he was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2000 he was told he had 4 weeks to live. Miraculously his surgery to remove the turmor was a success and although he was left with some facial paralysis and profound deafness,  he is alive and well today running marathon after marathon touching and inspiring others.

Soon after his surgery in 2000, Bob started running with the NF Endurance Team, a team of runners dedicated to raising money to fight neurofibromatosis. 

“I’m a cup half empty guy and am anxious to see the day we raise $10 million a year to fight this disease which strikes children and adults every year and can be severely debilitating and even fatal. We are up to the challenge... we will go the distance to cure NF... we will never ever give up! Hey, we are marathoners."  Bob will be running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon.

Follow up: Bob completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon in a time of 4:27:50.

ryan maloney - 2010 cm heroRyan Maloney
Ryan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 2 years old. Today at age 10, Ryan takes responsibility  and manages his condition by checking his blood sugar 8 to10 times a day. Every time he eats he counts his carbohydrates then uses his pump which is always attached to him to administer his insulin.

Last year Ryan ran in the Keebler™ Kids Marathon Mile and volunteered at the Insulindependence water station, cheering on the participants in the marathon. Ryan was so inspired that he asked if he could run the 2010 race with Insulindependence.

A Tampa Florida member of Team Glucomotive will run with Ryan in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon, helping to carry his medical supplies and monitoring his blood sugars. Ryan wants to raise money for Insulindependence and inspire other kids living with diabetes by showing them that they don’t have to let diabetes control their lives.

Follow up: Ryan completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in a time of  2:36:09.

sam felsenfeld - 2010 cm heroSam Felsenfeld
Operation Jack is the dream created by Sam Felsenfeld of Foothill Ranch, CA.  Sam’s son Jack was diagnosed with severe autism shortly after he turned 3.  After watching his son struggle day after day with his condition, Sam decided he needed to do something to make a difference in the fight to cure autism and to honor his son - his plan was Operation Jack.  Sam made a commitment to run at least one marathon a week in 2010 to generate nationwide attention and awareness as well as raise funds for Train for Autism.  Running did not come naturally to Sam.  He suffered a broken neck at age 16. When Sam took up running five years ago, he weighed over 260 pounds and was a smoker.  Today he is well on his way to reaching his goal. The Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon will be his fourth marathon of 2010.

If Sam is successful (and he will be), Train 4 Autism will grow and countless people living with autism - along with their family and friends - will benefit for years to come.

Follow up:  Sam completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon in a time of 3:07:21.

dan smith - 2010 cm heroDan Smith
As a career sailor Dan Smith understands that there are various “enemies” that the military encounters. However, finding out that his daughter had cystic fibrosis in December of 2005 was not something he was prepared for.  Suddenly the enemy was right in front of him in the form of a disease his daughter was battling. That was the day that Dan took up the fight to cure CF and he has been relentless in his effort since. To date, Dan has raised thousands of dollars in the search for a cure for CF.

Any good military strategy involves meeting the “enemy” head-on and applying pressure until  he surrenders or is eliminated.  That is Dan’s strategy toward CF – to continue to fight for a cure.  By participating in events such as the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon, Dan has the opportunity to raise funds that may ultimately wipe out this disease.  He is determined to give cystic fibrosis its biggest fight yet while showing his daughter how important she is to him at the same time.

He has joined  the CF Foundation and their CF Striders team and will be out there on race day proudly wearing his new CF Striders shirt.

Follow up: Dan completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in a time of 2:06:33.

kerry kuck - 2010 cm heroKerry Kuck
Kerry Kuck from Denver, Colorado, has had Type 1 diabetes for 40 years, and is totally blind.  He also has neuropathy and kidney disease, but has been running 2.5 to 4.5 miles a day since becoming blind 25 years ago. Running regularly with the help of three different guide dogs has kept his complications from increasing in severity.

Kerry is running the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon on behalf of Insulindependence. He says that in terms of long distance running, Type 1 diabetes is much more difficult to deal with than blindness.

“I love the whole marathon scene, especially when they let me and my guide start 3 to 5 minutes ahead of time with the wheelchair wave.  That way I get a clean start, but I can still feel the excitement of the race beginning behind me.  I like to see how long I can stay in front of the elite racers, and I feel like an elite racer myself for the first mile or so.” 

Follow up: Kerry completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in a time of 1:53:02.

justin feria - 2010 cm heroJustin Feria
Justin, 27, of San Diego could quite possibly be one of the most grateful participants in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon. Just one year ago he was very sick, hospitalized and received a pacemaker. It was determined that he needed a new heart and was placed on a transplant waiting list. Diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle with no known cause leading to a weakened and often enlarged heart) in Oct. 2008, Justin finally got his second chance at life on March 21, 2009 when he received his new heart. Justin, who lost both parents to heart disease, will be running on behalf of Lifesharing, an official race charity dedicated to efforts surrounding organ and tissue donation. 
“I am eternally grateful for this second chance at life” said Justin. “I feel blessed and want to help raise awareness of the need for organ donation and encourage others to give the gift of life.”

Please give the gift of life and register as an organ or tissue donor at

Follow up: Justin completed the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in a time of 4:28:49.

2009 Carlsbad Marathon Heroes of the Marathon & Half

masonMason Smedley
Mason, at the age of 17 months, was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, a very rare auto-immune disease and has spent much of his young life in the hospital.  He has had to fight for his life on a number of occasions.   He suffered a perforated bowel due to the progression of the disease and the prescribed heavy steroid use.  During surgery to remove a portion of his colon, it was discovered that he also had an enlarged heart.  The prescribed steroids had also resulted in high blood pressure, a suppressed immune system, cataracts and pneumonia which left him with a scarred lung.

Over the past few years, Mason has continued to get weaker and is now in a wheelchair.  He has lost the use of all but one limb, his right arm, but he remains a strong and loving little boy.  In his short time on this earth, he has endured more suffering than many of us will in our entire lifetime yet he is still funny, witty and positive.  He has a strong presence and an optimistic attitude.

His dad will push him in the half marathon and together they hope to raise funds and awareness for this disease so that one day there will be a cure for Juvenile Dermatomyositis and no child will have to suffer its devastating effects as Mason has.

melonieMelonie Applegate
It’s 4:45 a.m. at the starting line for the 2008 Carlsbad Marathon, also known as On The Roll For A Cure Marathon, for those who are in this race to fight back against a disease that has challenged them and their families.

Melonie Applegate (pictured left with Paul)  is tucking a blanket gently over her husband Paul Applegate, as he sits in his wheelchair. It’s cold and foggy in the pre-dawn darkness and everyone speaks in low quiet voices.

Melonie knows this pre-race routine well as she has been here for the last four years in the same spot at the same time. Paul Applegate was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, over four years ago, and since then was the lead marathoner for the Greater San Diego Chapter of the ALS Association.

This year, again, a group of three PALS, People Living with ALS, will comprise a chapter relay team that will be pushed in their wheelchairs for a total of 26.2 miles. The “pushers” are family members, caregivers and friends of the PALS who faithfully show up every year eager to push their own marathon heroes.

It is hard to find a dry eye anywhere when all three cross the finish line, some of them struggling and with assistance, to an enormous cheering throng. Pure raw courage meets with pure raw emotion and renders an inspirational finish.

We lost Paul this past June, but Melonie will be here again in her usual spot, supporting those athletes who continue the battle against this disease.  Melonie’s contributions to her husband and her family, and to the San Diego ALS Chapter make her a truly outstanding Hero for the Carlsbad Marathon. Melonie soldiers on in her own heroic way, although she is still uncomfortable with the title – Hero. 

natasha - 09 heroNatasha Sandrock
Natasha Sandrock is running instead to honor the heroes who give live after death.  She’s dedicating her fourth Carlsbad Marathon this year to one of the official charities of the marathon - Lifesharing - the organ and tissue organization serving San Diego and Imperial Counties.

In 2002, two months before Natasha and her husband Michael prepared for their first marathon, Michael died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism.  Natasha ran in Michael’s honor. “Our tragic situation turned into a blessing … a testimony to others,” Natasha said after completing the Carlsbad Marathon last year. Since Michael’s death, this inspirational young widow has run more than a dozen marathons en route to her goal of seven marathons on seven continents.

As an “extreme marathoner,” Natasha ran 3700 steps at the Great Wall of China, walked 10 days before starting the Mt. Everest Marathon in Nepal, scaled and then ran marathons on Machu Picchu in Peru and the Swiss Alps in Davos, and recently completed the Mt. Kilimanjaro run in Tanzania. Antarctica, Australia, Easter Island and Pikes Peak remain on her “To Run” list.

“Life is precious. Live it to the fullest and please consider being an organ and tissue donor,” the human resources professional emphasizes.  “It takes only minutes to sign up at the DMV or online at and can mean a lifetime to someone else.”

misty - 09 heroMisty Oto
Misty’s mother succumbed last year to the genetic killer that is Huntington’s Disease (HD). 29-year-old Misty, now runs in  hopes for a future that will free her and her two young daughters from the same fate as her mother.
“My mother was very open. As long as I can remember, my mom discussed it,” Misty says. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s just our luck! This rare disease, and we have to be the ones to get it.’ She told us that it was inherited, that we would have a 50-50 chance of getting it, and that if we had kids, they would also have a 50-50 chance of getting it. If we had questions, she would discuss them.”

Misty’s hope is for a cure so that her daughters, three-year-old  Malia, and two-year-old Kaili,  and her seven nieces and nephews don’t have to face the threat of HD. Already Misty’s older brother Jamie has HD symptoms. He has four children, all at risk. As part of her strategy Misty has been training to run the Carlsbad Marathon to raise funds for research.

Some research indicates that running may prolong the onset of HD so Misty is running to help find a cure and to lessen the terrible impact HD has had on her family and many other families.
“My husband Randy and I are lucky that we have perfectly healthy children now. There’s always a possibility of anything in life. I don’t regret that my mother had me, knowing very well that there is a possibility that I could have this as well. I do not begrudge my mother. I am happy for every day that I have on this earth. And I hope that my children feel the same.”

kathleen - 09 heroKathleen Stark
Many years ago, when Rady Children’s Hospital was adding a wing to its facility, the employees were allowed to write a message in the tower.  Kathleen Stark (pictured left with daughter Brittany) wrote a special message to her daughter, Brittany.  Little did Kathleen know that years later Brittany would spend the final months of her life in that same hospital.  Brittany was diagnosed with a heart condition that would require a heart transplant.  She waited eleven months for the heart that never arrived, passing away at the age of fourteen.

Kathleen, then a strong advocate for her daughter, still advocates today but in a different way.  Kathleen often speaks at public functions, using a letter from Brittany as a vehicle to share Brittany’s eleven-month journey.  Kathleen tirelessly speaks about the need for organ donation here in San Diego County.  Among many charitable efforts, Kathleen has given years of service, bereavement support and compassion to parents of patients of Rady Children’s Hospital.  

This marathon marks the ten year anniversary of when Kathleen and her husband first ran in the Carlsbad Marathon in Brittany’s memory to inspire others and to create awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation.  Kathleen will run the marathon again this year with her daughter Brooke to honor Brittany and the more than 1,400 San Diegans who have passed away while awaiting a life-saving organ transplant.

david - 09 heroDavid Kariuki
David Kariuki has known many days when running meant survival.  As an orphan,  David grew up on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya where he ran for safety, ran to hide and ran to escape the dangers he faced each day.  Running was a way of life.  After many years on the street, David (pictured in the middle of the photo on the left) was rescued by a kind, generous man who used his financial resources to open an orphanage for children left abandoned and alone.

Because of one man’s willingness to provide a home for the hundreds of children he found in need, David was given a chance in life.  He was provided a safe place to live, food and an education.  He was even able to pursue his dreams and by working hard graduated from university as a qualified Social Worker.

He now serves other children left hurting and alone after the death of their parents.  Working as Heart for Africa’s Country Coordinator in Kenya, David is able to impact the lives of many children in positive life-giving ways. He uses the knowledge he has acquired as well as his own life experiences to reach out to the children who are hurting and alone.  David works to provide a safe place for children to live, grow, learn and thrive.  No more running on the streets for David or for the children he cares for.  Now running can be a means to raise awareness and provide for children.

David is actually making his first trip out of Kenya to come here to be with us and to run his first half marathon.

bill - 09 heroBill Carlson
Bill was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was sixteen.  When most teens were worried about final exams or who to go to the prom with, Bill was worried about staying alive but he refused to let diabetes control his life.  In 1983, he became the world’s first-ever diabetic Ironman triathlete when he competed in an Ironman Triathlon.

Since that epic race, Bill has raced in 6 Ironman Triathlons, some 80 marathons, finished three 100-mile ultramarathons and sixteen 50-miles along with nearly 140 total triathlons.

His message has inspired millions.  Bill says “I have been an athlete all of my life. I developed diabetes when I was a high school football player but that didn’t bother me that much. Just had to get things under control and continue what I loved to do most and that was working out. I found that my love of exercise was something that others with diabetes did not have and that the exercise was very good for people who have diabetes. So I have turned myself into an example, a role model, for others who have diabetes. I will continue my athletics, diabetes or not. I just want to bring as many people along with me as I can in this endurance way of life. What a joy it is to really fly under your own power.”


2008 Carlsbad Marathon Heroes of the Marathon

brittany - finalBrittany Rogers, My whole life I have struggled with my weight.  When I was a little girl and we had to run a mile in school, I couldn’t do it because I was too heavy and everyone would make fun of me.  When I was 17 years old I decided I had enough and I made up my mind to lose weight.  I lost 70 pounds!   The next goal that I set for myself was to get over my fear of running.  When I lost all this weight I started dealing with major self image problems which led to depression.  I decided that doing a race might help me deal with these issues so I decided to sign up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon.  Through running and training for the race I have gained the confidence to know that I can do anything and I hope my story will be an inspiration to others who face these same issues.
Brittany Rogers, age 19

alan -08 heroAlan Sakal In early 2006, after never running in my life, I decided to sign up for the Carlsbad Marathon. I’m not sure what compelled me to want to run a marathon, but I just knew it was something I was “supposed” to do. In July of 2006, I joined In Motion Fit in Carlsbad. My first “check out” run with the group, I could barely run two blocks. I had my work cut out for me.

With the encouragement of the wonderful In Motion FIt coaches, and a lot of hard work, six months later I was standing on the starting line of the Carlsbad Marathon with thousands of other runners. Not only was this my first marathon, I had never even been to one.

I was told to be prepared to “hit the wall,” and sure enough, at 20 miles I felt as if I could not continue. By no means could I go another 6.2 miles, I had nothing left. I said a prayer, asking God to carry me the rest of the way. At that same moment, out of the crowd of spectators, came my training coach, Stan. He ran me in the remainder of the race, encouraging me all the way. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I was running for a higher cause.

That cause is the Bread of Life Rescue Mission in Oceanside. For the last four years, I have been a Board Member, and frequent volunteer at the Mission. On one particular night, as I was passing out blankets to our shelter guests, it came to me. I knew why I was “supposed” to run in the Carlsbad Marathon. I was supposed to raise money to buy cots for our guests to get them off the floor.

I proceeded to create a fundraising website and then sent an e-mail to my friends asking them to sponsor me in the race. They really came through! We raised almost $9,000 and were able to buy cots for all of our guests. They are no longer on the floor.

After the marathon, I continued to run with my group, and in April I entered the La Jolla Half Marathon. During the race, I ruptured a disk in my back that required surgery. While in the hospital, I contracted a staph infection. I had to go back to the operating room two additional times, and endure a lengthy recovery which included 12 weeks of continuous IV therapy. Due to the trauma to my spine, I was unable to walk, and had to train my legs to move again.

It was not until November that I recovered. I really missed my running partners and wanted to join them again. Slowly I started to walk with Stan’s walking group at the YMCA. In December, I joined my group again. All that time off affected me, and I had trouble keeping up with the group. With only 30 days left until race day, I knew I was not capable of running in the marathon. What about the half marathon? Is 30 days enough time to train to run the half? I hope so, because that is what I am doing. After all, if I am going to ask my friends to sponsor me again, I had better be in the race!

Alan Sakal

jean colorusso - 08 heroJean Coloarusso began a marathon for the people of Nigeria in 1998. She first began at a walking pace by fundraising for the building of a chapel in Minna, Nigeria. Once completed, Mrs. Colarusso visited the chapel and was moved by the many needs of the Nigerian people. Seven out of 10 people are infected with the HIV virus. After her initial visit, Mrs. Colarusso knew she had to pick up her pace. During the last ten years, she has almost single handedly provided the means for a now self-sustaining boys’ school, built a home for widows and orphans, created an Internet café at Kozito School giving access to its 500 students, and in January 2007, opened an AIDS/HIV Clinic and Hospice Center. Mrs. Colarusso is affectionately called “Mama Africa” in Nigeria because of the nurturing she has given to so many who must face death and poverty on a daily basis.

At 72 years young, Mrs. Colarusso has begun the largest project to date; the Dr. William J. Kupiec Memorial School for Girls which will educate 400 girls. She understands the life-changing, historical significance a girls’ school will make in this part of the world. In Nigeria, poor girls are rarely educated past the sixth grade and this school will be the first of its kind to educate poor girls 7th grade through college preparation.

Mrs. Colarusso is indeed a hero for the great improvements she has made to the lives of the people of Nigeria. She has worked tirelessly and accomplished so much without the advantage of being a media mogul, famous actress, or a rock star.

She will be doing the Half Marathon this year but her real marathon will continue with no finish line as she continues to be a voice and a hand-up for the people of Nigeria.

donna - 08 heroDonna Telles-Green: I believe all those who are organ or tissue donors and their families are HEROES.  The San Diego Fair agreed and honored donor families at the 2007 San Diego Fair.  The 13th happened to be my son, Christopher’s (shown in photo with Donna)10-year anniversary of his heart transplant.  They honored his donor’s mom, Donna.  Even though she was present at the then San Diego Marathon when Christopher walked the last mile of the marathon with the relay team of people who had helped save his life, Donna did not run.  This year she is participating by walking the half marathon with Christopher.  Christopher’s donor, Tommy died at the age of ten in a car accident.  He fought for his life for 7 days at Children’s Hospital in Orange County.  When he was pronounced brain dead his mother and father consented to organ donation.  Tommy did what none of the doctors could do for Christopher, he saved his life.  In his last hour, he gave a lifetime.  Donna has always participated with us to help educate people on the importance of organ and tissue donation.  I believe she is truly a hero.  Definition of a hero is someone who has great strength.  I believe her strength comes from the inside as well as the outside, making a decision in your darkest hour.  A hero is one who shows courage.  This too describes Donna.  She has always been there for our family and opened her heart to include us as part of her family.  She is a courageous mother who made a decision that changed our lives.  And for that our hearts will forever be together, we are family.

Liz Truxaw (Christoher’s Mom)

landon photoDr. Landon Pryor may hail from the cold Midwest but these days he calls our sunny California home and we are lucky to have him.  Dr. Pryor is running in this year’s Carlsbad Half Marathon on behalf of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts where he is their resident fellow.  As the latest addition to the organization’s team of dedicated medical volunteers, Dr. Pryor will be volunteering alongside some of San Diego’s foremost experts in pediatric craniofacial surgery for the next 12 months.
Landon opened his medical school application with the quote, “We are here to add what we can to life, not get what we can from it.”  As you quickly get to know this young doctor, you realize he truly takes this quote to heart.  Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, during a time when most medical students are just trying to make their grades, Landon has tirelessly lent his time and energies toward bettering the world around him.  In his first years of medical school in Illinois, Dr. Pryor traveled to Guatemala to provide medical care to underdeveloped communities.  Upon return he joined a tutoring program for children in a local hospital and took part in a “Students teaching AIDS to students” program where he provided education and awareness on the disease to underprivileged teens.  In 1999, Landon also became involved in the Special Friends Program of the American Cancer Society where he served as a Big Brother for children with cancer.
Dr. Pryor recognizes that his education and training put him in a unique position to give back in a very significant way.  “I am fortunate to have found a field of medicine that I am very enthusiastic about, and know that this passion for plastic surgery will only continue to grow stronger.”  Since his busy academic career, Landon has continued to pursue his passion for giving back.  As Fresh Start’s Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery Clinical Fellow, he is involved with complex and demanding cases of children suffering from physical deformities.  Since these children have no way of paying for the medical care they so desperately need on their own, they receive all of their treatment at no cost.  Landon is inspired by their courage and their gratitude for the care they receive.  In addition to volunteering for the organization in a medical capacity, Dr. Pryor wanted to serve as an inspiration and champion for the young patients in the community.  So, when asked if he would like to walk or run in this year’s Carlsbad Half Marathon, he did not hesitate.  To date Dr. Pryor has raised over $600 for Fresh Start and is counting on the smiles of the Fresh Start patients to help pull him through those tough 13.1 miles. Go Landon!

2007 Carlsbad Marathon Heroes of the Marathon  Dr. Bryon, (pictured below with friend Kelly Peters) an avid runner, suffered a serious upper spinal cord injury several years ago. He has undergone two surgeries and had to relearn to walk after each surgery.

dr bryonHe currently walks with a cane due to balance difficulties and wears arm/hand braces, but will attempt to complete his sixth straight Carlsbad Marathon on January 21, 2007. He is the one who wears the cool red lobster hat during the marathons!

Although he has been forced to retire from his busy practice in Anesthesiology Medicine because of the coordination problems caused by the spinal cord injury, he has found an incredible life as a community servant/volunteer.  He founded and led the Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School Safety Patrol for four years;  he tutors math and reading; he’s the CubMaster of the largest Cub Scout Pack in the District; he helps coach P.E.,  soccer, and baseball;  he has received multiple awards from the San Diego City Schools, Scripps Ranch Civic Association, and the Boy Scouts of America; he teaches Sunday School; and he has received commendations from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the California State Senate for his work with the Cedar Fire Recovery.

tom burkeTom Burke has been a loyal participant of the Carlsbad Marathon since 1992. He has never run nor walked the marathon, but he manages one of the largest and most enthusiastic water stations on the course. His consistence and loyalty to the event is matched by his love for his daughter, Michelle.

Tom first became involved with the marathon when Michelle was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary degenerative disease of the retina, leading to progressive blindness. He wanted do something to make more people aware of this disease and bring attention to the need for funding for research. Currently there is no cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa and only limited vision aids available to enhance the vision and retard the deterioration of the patient’s sight. In 1992, he approached In Motion and asked if there was a way he could use the Carlsbad Marathon to help him spread the word. Because of Tom, Retinitis Pigmentosa became an official charity of the Carlsbad Marathon and Tom became the manager of the water station at Carlsbad Boulevard and La Costa.

Tom never gives up. This past summer while on a work assignment in Sacramento, Tom suffered a devastating stroke. He was away from his family, staying in a rented apartment during the week, only going home on weekends. When this happened, he was not able to call for help and it was many hours before Tom was discovered and rushed to the hospital where he was treated for the next three months.

Tom beat the odds. His stay in the hospital was followed by months of rehabilitation which is still ongoing. But as soon as he could speak, Tom asked a friend to “call the Carlsbad Marathon and tell them I will be there.”

Tom will be at his usual post directing over 100 of his friends as they serve water and Ultima to the marathoners passing by. When you go by, take a minute to say “hello” to a “True Marathon Hero.” Just look for the guy with the broad smile and the friendly wave.  That’s Tom!

mycle bradyMycle Brandy: "I am doing this marathon on behalf of the American Stroke Association (Train To End Strokes). I have had four strokes in the past and I’m currently on chemotherapy for liver disease (which is causing me to use a cane). I will be starting at  5:30 a.m. with the walkers though I do hope to be able to run some. A little over two years ago I was mailed a flier from the American Stroke Association. Not believing I could complete a marathon, I joined the team in the hopes of completing at least one half marathon and have completed three since then. I am doing this marathon to not only expand the awareness of the causes and dangers of strokes, but also to participate with people who are giving up their time to train and eventually compete in marathons for an extremely worthy cause. These fine people give up their Saturday mornings for four months of training and collect donations to help end the threat of death and impairment from strokes forever.  I consider myself very lucky to be part of this organization and this first marathon of many more to come.

kelly and rossRoss Kinney: "My first marathon was run for the Team in Training program in 1999 and I was truly blessed to have the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society assign Kelly Grubb as my patient honoree. Kelly was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 1996.  She has endured several relapses, a bone marrow transplant with another relapse, and in 2002 made medical history as the first pediatric patient in the nation to receive a mismatched stem cell transplant.
Kelly remained cancer-free and was approaching the all important 5-year anniversary date when her cancer inexplicably returned yet again. Only weeks from what I’d hoped would be a carefree celebration of her 18th birthday, she found herself fighting this disease once again, and Kelly and her family have to leave their home in Montana again to start treatment in Seattle, Washington.
Throughout the years I have known Kelly, she has never once complained about her setbacks. She is always positive and fights this horrible disease with unbelievable courage and dignity. She has been an inspiration in my life and is also someone I look up to as a role model. She is an amazing person. Her strength and compassion for others is remarkable. She has touched my life and so many others during her cancer journey.
I will once again be running in her honor on January 21, 2007 at the Carlsbad Marathon. She is truly my hero and it will be an honor to dedicate this marathon to her.

debbieDebbie Corradini is a marathon hero. She is a forty-three year old mother of two girls, one of whom is a special needs child. Marissa, now 12, was born with a genetic disorder called Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome (CFC). This is an extremely rare disorder, with less than a hundred diagnosed cases. Doctors gave Marissa little chance for a long life as she suffered from failure to thrive, a hole in her heart, psychomotor deficits and mental retardation.

Debbie threw all of her energy into supporting her girls’ needs. She battled to get her special needs daughter Marissa, the professional care she needed, and worked hard to keep her daughter, Presley, as normal and grounded as possible. Debbie’s love and nurturing have led Marissa to achieve what doctors said she could not -- to walk and to talk! Marissa has even made great progress in swimming, thanks to the loving support of her mom, who never gave up on her.

Debbie took up running to fight stress about four years ago. She slowly began seeing progress, never gave up on herself, and completed four half-marathons in the next few years. The Carlsbad Marathon is her first attempt at a full marathon. She has trained hard; juggling a career as a court reporter, mom, wife and runner. Debbie’s husband Steve, and daughters Presley and Marissa, will be at the finish line to cheer her on just as she has supported each of them in their extracurricular activities. Debbie is a true example that you can follow your dreams and achieve your goals if you put your mind to it.

connor humeConnor Hume, age 10, (pictured left with with his younger brother) is the youngest Hero of the Marathon. Connor has shown such courage and strength in the face of adversity. He has two younger brothers with serious illnesses; Parker, age 8, has been battling Juvenile Dermatomyositis for over 4 years, and Cole, age 4, was recently diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease and has other multiple health issues. 

Connor has been the biggest supporter of his brothers, comforting them during their hospital stays, holding their hands when they get shots, pushing their IV poles down the hallways, finding ways to distract them from their pain and knowing just what to say when they are feeling bad. Connor does everything he can to help find a cure for his brother. In fact, Connor said he would give his heart to his brother to save his life. 

Last year, Connor was an active volunteer for the Carlsbad Marathon. He helped organize and recruit volunteers for Cure JM, stuffed goodie bags for the Cure JM Team, served as a course guide and made signs to cheer on the runners. This year, Connor has recruited a group of friends to walk the first few miles of the half marathon with Parker to show their support of Parker and Cure JM.