The extra mile

The extra mile

Pasadena Marathoners dedicate their efforts Sunday to fallen friends and loved ones

By Logan Nakyanzi Pollard 05/17/2012

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Approximately 7,000 men, women and children are expected to run, walk or bike Sunday in the 4th Annual Kaiser Permanente Pasadena Marathon and its related events.

For some, marathon running has become a rite of passage, a kind of evolution of the human spirit.

For instance, Julie Weiss, an accountant from Brentwood who will be participating in Sunday’s event, plans to run 52 marathons this year in honor of her father, Maurice Weiss, to help bring awareness of the pancreatic cancer that claimed his life. She’s already raised nearly $95,000 toward her $1-million goal to support research for its prevention and treatment, work that is sorely underfunded.

Weiss said she started running in 2008, when she was 38. “I was on antidepressants and was overweight and my life changed,” she recalled. “My father was really proud of me. Every time I ran, I’d call him.” Her biggest dream: qualifying for the Boston Marathon. After 19 attempts, she did just that — one week after her father passed away. (marathongoddess.com)

Shannon Hill of Pasadena, a teacher and a natural-born runner who has been racing since age 5, had to get over the fear “that I wouldn’t be fast [again]” after a car accident left her with a broken ankle. She’s competing in the 13.1-mile course that she won the inaugural year of the competition.

“I have been in snow … in rain, and I told myself, ‘but it’s not windy and rainy.’ I always find the positive,” said Yolanda Holder, a 54-year-old Corona power walker and author of “My Journey to Guinness.” She holds the world record for most races run (Guinness makes no distinction in this category between running and walking) and plans to add another notch to her marathon belt in Pasadena.

John Hulsey, a US Marine and ultra marathoner, is dedicating each of his 26 miles to his fallen comrades. The San Diego veteran runs everything from ultra marathons to shorter races to fuel an inner journey toward healing himself from past pain and to find new life, even amid suffering.

“People can go days and days and days and not think about war, but this is very much in my mind and in my heart,” Hulsey said. “I am running because these Marines pushed me to be better again. I also want to run a mile for every Marine fallen. I don’t expect that any of their families will know, but I’ll know that for those 10 minutes, somebody was thinking about them. And there are Marines that need help now, so I decided I should raise money for the Semper Fi Fund. (semperfifund.org)

And it wouldn’t be a race without a politician running. State Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, is participating alongside some members of her staff to help promote healthy living.

“Be proud your city has a marathon,” said Michele Pusateri, a former runner sidelined by a stress fracture who now teaches indoor cycling in Pasadena. She will be part of the team of biker guides escorting competitors through the course.

“Cheer everybody that comes by. It’s ridiculously hard running alone,” Pusateri said.

The 4th Annual Pasadena Marathon starts at 5:45 a.m. with a bike tour, followed by a full and half marathon, a 5K and 10K run, a wheelchair stroll and a kids’ run, starting and ending at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. For more, visit cityofpasadena.net or pasadenamarathon.org

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