Team Captain and LIVESTRONG staff member, Stephani Smolucha, tells us about her amazing team, Team Kate, for the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on February 17, 2013. Join Stephani and Team Kate for this 2013 Team LIVESTRONG running event.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
I initially signed up for the half-marathon to push myself to do something new and challenging. At the time I signed up, I had never even run a 5k without stopping. Also, as a staff member, I wanted to experience and understand what our participants and fundraisers do.
After signing up for the race, I decided I wanted to dedicate my run in honor of someone. After talking with a friend, we formed “Team Kate” in honor of our mutual friend, Kate Voth. Kate has been battling melanoma for 8 years and recently learned that because of her cancer treatment, she may never be able to run again. Her passion in life is distance running. So, since Kate can’t run this race, we want to run it for her. We already have more than 50 members on our team, who have collectively raised over $4,500, and will be running and walking for Kate in February.
What would you tell someone else if you were recommending that they join?
I can’t imagine a better participant experience than with Team LIVESTRONG. Participants receive as much one-on-one support as they need, and the online participant center has some great tools and information. Plus, the camaraderie of being part of Team LIVESTRONG and fundraising for the Foundation is really special. You’re part of something greater than yourself and you’re making an impact.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
To me, LIVESTRONG means living life and approaching every challenge with no excuses. I’m trying really hard to not make any excuses in my half-marathon training. Some of my training runs are going to be too hard, or too long, and at a certain point I may think I can’t do it. All of those are challenging obstacles, and it would be easy to make excuses so I could stop. But I keep reminding myself that none of those obstacles are as significant or as challenging as fighting cancer the way my friend Kate does. Kate hasn’t stopped fighting since day one, and participating in this run with 100% of my effort is a small yet meaningful way to stand by her in this fight.
What does the training, the event and being a member of the team add to your life?
I’ve already gained so much from organizing a team and participating in this experience. I’m forming some wonderful friendships, gaining strength from supporting my fellow runners, and making a difference. I’m so excited to run as a team on race day, but I’ll also be sad for this to end. The training runs and planning has been a welcomed focus in my life right now! I guess that just means I’ll have to run next year, too.