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In This Together: Marathon Runner Fights to End Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day

In This Together: Marathon Runner Fights to End Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day
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June 20, 2020
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Today, on The Longest Day, I am honoring my witty, handsome and loving grandfather, Myron Lenkin, who is currently battling Alzheimer’s. I'm raising funds and awareness by beginning my day with a balmy morning run to prepare for my participation in the Wineglass Marathon, a 26.2 mile race through the charming streets of Corning, New York on October 4th, 2020. 
My grandfather is currently residing in Florida with my grandmother, where they are both remaining safe and my grandfather receives excellent care during COVID-19. My family and I speak to my grandparents frequently and we all greatly enjoy spending time together on weekly FaceTime calls, with about ten minutes dedicated to sorting out technical difficulties (of course)! I always share my running progress with my grandmother, who is very proud of the efforts I have made to use running as an opportunity to support the Alzheimer’s Association. 
Running has always been my passion. It has allowed me to meditate and reflect on my day with the sun against my back, the peaceful hymns of birds and the sound of my sneakers crunching against the gravel path below me. I feel powerful when I persevere through a long distance run and remember that my body is capable of taking me up hills, around creeks, through eclectic neighborhoods in an unfamiliar city. 
I used to see running as something that was mainly self-fulfilling. Using running as a platform to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association has shown me that running has the capacity to do so much more! Running can serve as a powerful platform to encourage growth, cultivate community and inspire groups to make a positive impact. 
My most important advice to anyone thinking about training for a race is to join a community! I have been a member of the Potomac River Running Club (PRRC) since the start of my fundraising initiative. PRRC is filled with runners of various skill levels, all eager to challenge one another to push through foot cramps, sultry weather and pessimistic mid-run thoughts. Alongside many individuals in this group, I was initially training to participate in the Washington, D.C. Rock n’ Roll marathon on March 28. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the marathon was unfortunately cancelled. This was only a temporary roadblock! The support and encouragement of PRRC empowered me to keep pushing forward by restructuring my training process. 
I have continued to find creative ways to virtually fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association. Thanks to the support of my running group and many others, I have exceeded my goal of raising $2,500 toward the fight to end Alzheimer’s. 
My Longest Day run serves as a reminder that running brings people together, and togetherness is a mighty way to make an impact. I look forward to running 26.2 and continuing to honor my grandfather and fight for a cure!
About: Courtney Shumacher has surpassed her goal for The Longest Day! View her fundraising page here.

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