The Million Dollar Marathon


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I’m not a runner. I’m one of those people who would argue that our bodies are not built to run 26.2 miles. On Saturday night you would never hear me say, “I have to leave, I need to wake up at 5 a.m. to get my long run in tomorrow.” And just the sight of a 26.2 mile sticker on a car makes me cringe. However, I ran a marathon this weekend.


This past winter our longtime supporter, fundraiser and friend Steve Cannon came to the LIVESTRONG Foundation with an idea—The Million Dollar Marathon. This is a coast-to-coast relay marathon that includes four marathons a day for 40 days. Starting in Washington and ending in Delaware. The runners, 160 of them, are made up of cancer survivors, caregivers and all-around cancer warriors. Everyone has a fundraising goal, with a collective dream of reaching $1 million by the end of the summer. The team is currently at $420,000.00.

Eight months ago I said I was in, and today I am writing from Boise, Idaho, licking my wounds in a coffee shop and thinking about what happened from then to now. Recently a friend introduced me to the idea of “the wonderment of possibility,” and looking back I think it sums up Steve’s dream and the inspiration behind the Million Dollar Marathon.


Before this began, like I said, I looked at distance running with a pretty closed mind. And as training began to progress, the wonderment of possibility began to creep in my mind. If I could run five miles, than I could probably run seven. Then I did my first 10-miler, and then a half marathon. I stayed in on a Saturday night, to get up early for my long run. I “bonked” (I used to hate that word, now I use it) on a 15-mile run, but the feeling of pain was almost addictive. There is something about going to a place so physically and mentally painful, and coming out the other side on top that can’t be explained. There are very few “marathoners” on the team. Hearing their stories and feats of accomplishments was motivation for everyone. We all started to begin to realize what was possible with this journey.

Fundraising had the same feel. At the beginning, I’m not sure anyone thought $1 million was possible, except Steve. Our team raised $20k in the first week—great but a long way off from our goal. Then we hit $100k and $150k. We started to pick up steam, before we knew it we were at $250k. We began to wonder: Can we hit $1 million? It started to become a possibility. So as you read this, there are about 37 days left, and each morning a group of runners will live their day in the wonderment of possibility. They will put in their miles, carry the baton and continue to share their story and fundraise toward the dream of hitting $1 million. We all believe it’s a possibility. The funds raised will be split among amazing cancer nonprofits including Above and Beyond Cancer, American Cancer Society and LIVESTRONG.


On a personal level, it’s been an amazing journey. Eight months ago, I never would have wondered about running a marathon, let alone thought it was possible. I probably won’t get a sticker for the car, but I can respect it now. So I encourage you to stop thinking about what is not possible; instead, wonder what is possible. Whether it is a 5k, a walk around your local track, a bike ride, a trip you’ve always wanted to take, a phone call you’ve been meaning to make or anything that takes you out of your comfort zone. It’s possible. Live your life in the wonderment of possibility.

To learn more about the run and watch the progress, visit – The Million Dollar Marathon site.

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