Marathon Training To Raise Money For Leukemia Research - - The News for South Mississippi

Marathon Training To Raise Money For Leukemia Research

Through the Pass Christian fog, came some dedicated souls Sunday morning. Often they run alone, but every two weeks they come together to train. Their goal is a 26 point two mile run in San Diego on June 2nd. The team isn't ready yet, but they're getting there.

Every team member is running or walking in honor of someone battling leukemia. For Deanna Breland, it's seven year old Anna Ortis who was diagnosed at 18 months.

"That little girl battles an awful lot everyday and she doesn't have a choice," Breland said. "And I do have a choice, so it makes it easy to run and focus strictly on her and what she's dealing with."

This is the first marathon for Jeniffer Toney and Robynn Drahos. For them, the motivation is simple. A three-year-old Ocean Springs child named Gabrielle Spicer.

"Oh yeah, her smiling face is what keeps me going 'cause otherwise, I'd be wanting to give up and I just think about her and it just keeps me going," Drahos said.

"And she's just so full of life and so, you know, it just really does my heart good to see her," Toney said. "Yes, she's my motivation, most definitely."

Joe Tramontana is their coach. He admits he offered his services so he'd stay in shape. Training for a marathon is not easy, but Tramontana says running for a sick child works well as a motivator.

"In the average marathon, maybe three-fourths of all entrants complete it," he explained. "Our record in Mississippi is we've had 100 percent completion rate and that's my goal--for everybody to finish."

Training began in February. Since then many of the runners have cut out fatty foods, and have become focused on their goal. And in June, they say they will be ready.

There is one other challenge. Each team member must raise at least $3800 before the marathon. If you would like to help or if you need more information about the group, call Jeniffer Toney at 818-0528.

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