Since I began my competitive running journey back in 1976, I have witnessed dramatic changes in the sport. For the most part, the changes have been positive. Back then, it was sometimes difficult to find a road race. Today, there are often too many from which to choose. Perhaps the most significant evolution in road racing, however, has been the marriage of running, racing, and charitable causes. There are many worthy groups and institutions that have benefited from the generosity, dedication, and commitment of runners, but one organization has stood out, in my family’s experience, by giving back to runners as well. That organization is Team In Training.
My daughter, Kelly, now 37 years old, has always distinguished herself academically. She attended the University of South Carolina, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in three years; then obtaining her Master’s Degree a year later. She is currently a high school teacher in Pennsylvania. For much of her life, Kelly didn’t like to sweat. She viewed her father’s passion for running as a smelly endeavor, fraught with ugly feet and black toenails. So it was quite a surprise when she called me on a December night in 2009 to announce that she planned to run a marathon in June. Silently I mused, “But you’ve never run a race of any kind.” Kelly had attended a meeting of Team in Training, a fundraising organization for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society that has used team based marathon training as an engine to help invest over 1 billion dollars in blood cancer research since 1988. Possessing a generous heart, and perhaps some of her father’s fanaticism, she decided to enter one of Team in Training’s marathon training groups. She asked me to check out the training plan that was designed for her, and it was very sound. Soon she was logging her weekend long runs in preparation for her first marathon, in San Diego, California.
She did, indeed, complete her marathon in June 2010, and through a myriad of fundraising efforts, which included individual donations, bake sales, yard sales, and the sale of home-made Easter eggs, she raised $2900 for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. But that was only beginning, and the next summer, Kelly raised an additional $1900 by running the Lake Placid Half Marathon.
In October 2011, Kelly’s passion for helping those impacted by leukemia hit close to home, when her mother-in-
law, Millie, passed away after a long battle with leukemia. In Millie’s honor, Kelly joined her husband Mike in a fundraising effort for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, named “Miles for Millie.” Kelly and Mike trained for and ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon in Millie’s honor, and raised $3100 in the process. To date, through their many events, Kelly and Mike have raised $12,300 for Team in Training.
Team in Training has helped ignite Kelly’s passion for running, and more importantly, given her an opportunity to help others and bring awareness to a an important cause. While most runners experience personal exhilaration when they cross the finish line; by running for a worthy cause, Kelly’s satisfaction has been elevated to a higher level.
Organization: Team In Training (TNT)
In 1988, Bruce Cleland assembled a NYC Marathon team to raise money in honor of his daughter, a leukemia survivor. 38 runners raised $322,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) work to discover new treatments for blood cancers.
During the next 25 years, LLS’s Team In Training (TNT) has become the leader in endurance sports training for charity, funding significant therapies like chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants, which have a significant impact on blood cancer patients.
Today, LLS funds only the most promising advances; targeted therapies like Gleevec®, Velcade® and Dacogen® take aim at cancer cells, and destroy them. Immunotherapies use a patient’s own immune system to kill cancer. And the repurposing of existing drugs for arthritis and antifungals to fight specific leukemias are breakthroughs that allow patients to live their best life, today.
TNT and LLS fundraising efforts through marathons, triathlons, cycling and hiking really are making cures happen. Coaches will expand your fitness level with workouts, nutrition and hydration clinics. And you’ll have staff members to help with fundraising support.
Ways You Can Help:
Kelly Muldowney is currently running in honor of a former student, Bree Taylor, who is in remission after two rounds of Leukemia. If you would like to support Kelly by making a donation in Bree’s honor, click here.
What’s Your Fuel?
#WhatsYourFuel is an ongoing series where we share the stories and passions of people who are living a life fueled by a cause that matters to them. If you are interested in sharing your story about what “fuels” your mission, we want to hear from you. You don’t have to be a runner or athlete, you just have to be someone who is committed to a cause greater than yourself, and fueled by the idea that you can make a difference that matters. If this is you, click here to share.