Every year, AICR’s event fundraising team, TeamAICR, sets out to the windy city in mid-October to compete in one of the nation’s biggest races, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Last year we brought a group of 40 runners to the marathon from all over the country and from all walks of life with one goal in common: a deep commitment to ending cancer.
Not only do our runners spend months training and fundraising for our cause, they’re also living our mission. Thanks to the research we’ve funded, we know that being active can help reduce cancer risk which makes our runners perfect champions of our cause.
Last year, Claire Travis ran with TeamAICR and completed her first ever marathon in Chicago. Claire chose to run with AICR after her older brother and her mother were diagnosed with cancer in the last 10 years. Both have gone through treatment and are survivors today However, the experience is still vivid in Claire’s memory.
And Claire hasn’t always been a runner herself. Her fitness journey began a little over two years ago when long, strenuous hours at work meant less time to focus on her health. After her first vacation in ages, she realized she was exhausted and just didn’t feel very good. She decided to join a gym and was on her way to running her first marathon. Her big breakthrough came later that year on July 4th, when she was able to run her first mile (no small feat when training at altitude!). She slowly but steadily increased her training, competing in a 5k, 10k, and half marathon before finishing in the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Claire describes race day in Chicago as an emotional, “once in a lifetime” experience. Before beginning the 26.2 mile run, Claire wrote the names of everyone in her life that had been affected by cancer on the back of her jersey. She also called her mother on the morning of race day to dedicate the run to her. What really stood out to Claire was the camaraderie at the marathon. The day itself was beautiful as the streets of Chicago were packed with family and friends cheering on the runners. It was amazing to see so many people from all over the world come together to accomplish the same goal.
Ultimately, Claire chose to run with AICR because of her connection to cancer and because AICR’s mission so closely matches the changes she is making in her life. If you or someone you know would be interested running in Chicago with us this year, please check out our event page! Be sure to visit our TeamAICR homepage to see our full list of events in 2014.