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The Suburbanite
  • In their shoes: Canton Marathon runners share their stories

  • Canton Marathon participants share their reasons for running, in their own words.

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  • I will be 64 in September and have never been a runner. Twenty five years ago, I ran a charity 5K and it was so difficult for me I never ran again. When I heard our community was going to have its own marathon and local non-profits would be partners, I decided to get involved.
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    At first, since I’m not a runner, I thought about serving in some capacity; however, when someone from Habitat for Humanity suggested being part of their team I jumped at the chance since I have served with them in the past and believe it is a quality organization.
    I began training in January with the idea of being part of a shorter distance relay team; however, when my old body responded better to the training than I thought it would, I began to reevaluate my goals.
    After a couple months of training I decided to go for it and run the marathon representing the C.A.S.T. of Glenmoor CC and partnering with Habitat for Humanity to raise funds through sponsors for their ongoing work in the community.
    As a graduate of The Stark County Leadership Program I am excited about the Canton’s marathon and its long range potential for the community.
     — MICHAEL SAVAGE, CANTON
    •••
    I survived a pulmonary embolism. Through blood work and research it was found that I have a genetic clotting disorder called factor II prothrombin gene mutation. I will be on bloodthinners the rest of my life to reduce my risk of additional clotting.  Because my clots traveled from limb to lung once, they will always travel and on the same path. I have lost a portion of my right lung because of lack of oxygen to the area.  My pulmonologist told me I would never participate in a marathon. Here I am three years later training for my first half (marathon).  My goal is to use the walk/run method (as my lungs admittedly are not as strong as they used to be), but even if I walk the entire 13.1, I will have succeeded. I want to prove to my children if there is a will, there is a way.  Thank you, Canton, for this opportunity. I look forward to it!
    — JULI KELLER, WESTERVILLE
    •••
    Lately I’ve had the urge to be stereotyped. Preferably as a “runner.” But as a very overweight 28-year-old, I figured that was Widget: blog_inline_images image image_size Small
    Page 2 of 5 - a far-fetched label. Two months ago, I had to stop running after two minutes in order to take another five minutes to catch my breath. But here I am this morning, writing to you after my 40-minute run: The longest I've ever run in my entire life without stopping to walk and rest. Thanks to the "Couch to 5K" training program, I am ready to run the second leg of the inaugural Canton Marathon as a proud member of team I Could Be Sleeping. And as a very big fan of sleeping, I have to say that while there’s nothing better than a nice comfy bed, the runner’s high from this morning comes in at a close second.
     I can officially call myself a runner. I like this stereotype.
     — CHRIS BORON, MAGNOLIA
    •••
    I am running in honor of my fallen friend Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alexander “Scott” Coulter who was killed in Iraq in 2003. It was an honor to have known and served alongside this hero and I look forward to representing him with this shirt during the race.
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    This will be the 3rd of 50 marathons in 50 states I plan to run over the next 5 years, before turning 50, in his memory ? I ran my first in March and my second in May.
    — SCOTT SUNDAY, AUGUSTA, GA.
    •••
    Our son, Mike Cramer, is 39 years old. His hobbies included soccer, volleyball, and auto racing. Nov. 22 he suffered a massive stroke due to a clotting disorder, and blood clots in his legs and lungs. He was transferred to Cleveland Clinic Thanksgiving Day where a clot was removed from his basilar artery. He was placed on life support in critical condition with only 10 percent chance of survival.... We were told that he would be ventilator dependent and totally paralyzed for the rest of his life. According to his wishes, we took him off the ventilator Dec. 5 but after four hours, he aroused, started moving, and survived. The past six months have been a painful arduous journey of recovery. After spending a month at Cleveland Clinic, more than a month at Kindred Rehab at St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Mike is living in a subacute rehab center in Beachwood. He is blind, beginning to vocalize, can move his right side well, left side is weak, and he still has to have a feeding tube. May 1 he held a cup and took a sip of water himself and Monday May 7, he was helped to stand briefly and took his first step. His will to live, determination, and courage are astounding and his progress is a miracle. Mike's wife, Mandii, has been with him nearly every day as his advocate and helpmate. Family and friends have been totally involved with his recovery in many aspects. The Cramer Racing Team will run the relay as a fundraiser for Mike. Mike’s sister, Leigh Anne Cowger, is our fearless leader and organizer. We hope to honor Mike as continues along his path of recovery. Read his story on caringbridge.org, site: mikecramer
    Page 3 of 5 - — ROSEMARY CRAMER, CANTON and LEIGH ANNE COWGER, CANONSBURG, PA.
    •••
    I moved to Canton about five years ago to be closer to my husband’s family. We live about 1.5 miles from the Hall of Fame. To aid in weight loss I began running at Stadium Park. I worked my way up to a half marathon in September 2009. After having a baby I wanted to do another half but with the help of the Canton Marathon Training group that currently meets on Saturday mornings I gained the confidence to sign up for the whole 26.2 miles.  To get all the training I need to prepare for the marathon, I often have to run with my 16-month-old.  Stadium Park is our favorite place where she can “quack quack” at the ducks “woof woof” at the dogs and sit for sometimes 90 minutes with her toy, snack and drink while I log my miles. I can’t wait to toe the line and cross the finish line so close to where I have been spending most of my training miles.
    — CAITLIN LANE, CANTON
    •••
    I am so excited to run the Canton marathon. I now live in Alberta, Canada, since 1996 and I grew up in Canal Fulton and Widget: blog_inline_images image image_size Small
    Massillon. I graduated from Central Catholic High School. I started running after I had my first child to stay in shape. I have now participated in two marathons and several half marathons. I also have been a team member for five years running in the Canadian Death Race, 125 kilometers of terrain extreme adventure race in Grande Cache, Alberta. I will attempt three of the five legs this year and attempt to solo 2013. I am a mom of three amazing children Miranda, 13, Keegan, 11, and Molly, 6, and have a supporting husband named, Glenn. I am so pumped to be running a race on Ohio ground. Run, Run, Run.
    — STEPHANIE MARTIN, ALBERTA, CANADA
    •••
    Who knew that I could complete a marathon?  It surprised me! After surviving breast cancer and 10 years of post cancer medications, I wanted to find a healthy activity that I would enjoy. At age 62, for the first time in my life I tried running. I trained, entered a 5K and loved it!  Within a year I completed a marathon. I’m soon to be 65 years of age and still running.
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    Page 4 of 5 - Why did I register for the Canton Marathon? As a Canton resident I am excited to be a part of this inaugural event. It has a pace limit that I can meet, a terrain I can handle. It’s invigorating and invokes self-pride every time I complete my goal. The low number of competitors in my age division inspires me that I am doing something somewhat unique. Love the race shirts, too!
     My personal challenge for June 17th is set. See you at the starting line!
    — FRAN SEABECK, NORTH CANTON
    •••
    I am training with my husband (Scott) for Canton ... we have been running for three years now. It started to lose weight and regain our health that we lost having children and with graduate school. We managed to lose a combined 100 pounds and Widget: blog_inline_images image image_size Small
    the asthma I battled has become very manageable. We have kept the weight off for two years and were needing a new challenge. My cousin mentioned the Run for Home half marathon (which we ran) and I signed up to run it with her. Along the way, my husband decided that he would rather participate than cheer me on. He had completed 5Ks but did not want to distance run until I began training and getting more and more excited for the race. Along the way, I reconnected with a friend from high school on Facebook. We graduated from Lake High School in Uniontown but both moved away. She has done several marathons and was contemplating running in Canton's first marathon because it goes past so many places we grew up with, but she didn't want to do it alone. I decided that I would try it with her and as I looked on the website for more information I noticed the finish line on Fawcett Field. I was telling my husband, and it was more than a huge football fan, former participant and current peewee coach could resist. The man who once thought that he never wanted to run more than four miles decided to run a marathon. It has been amazing to train together. We are always amazed when we hit a new milestone or say that we “only” need to run 12 miles today. We will be crossing the finish line together with my friend, Sonja, who first encouraged us to run. It is our first so there will likely be battles along the way, but I am confident the three of us will be wearing football medals on June 17th.
    Page 5 of 5 - — MELISSA GREEN, WAVERLY