Today was the Skechers Performance LA Marathon. What a crazy great event on what was sure to be one of the hottest weekends in LA in 2016. One would think spring had sprung weeks ago with the 80+ degrees, but that doesn’t stop marathoners. Nor would it stop a specific marathoner, Julie Weiss known as the “Marathon Goddess” from running her 100th marathon here in LA on Valentine’s Day to honor her dad! In 2010, Maurice Weiss,her dad, had passed away 35 days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Julie made it her mission to run 52 marathons in one year in order to raise funds for the Los Angeles-based Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and accomplished it in 2013. I was recently offered the chance to feature Julie Weiss’ story here on this blog. I am honored to do so and celebrate what Julie Weiss is doing — not just in running marathons but her over-arching goal to raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research! She is our guest blogger for today! Here is Julie Weiss’s story about why she runs.
The Greatest Love of All:
Julie Weiss, the Marathon Goddess will run her 100th marathon for her dad on Valentine’s Day
The love a daughter has for her father is an unbreakable bond. In 2010, my father, Maurice Weiss – my biggest fan – passed away from pancreatic cancer just 35 days after diagnosis. I was devastated. At the time, pancreatic cancer was the 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Today, it is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related deaths reported by the American Cancer Society, surpassing breast cancer. Although I was a young, single mom at 37, overweight and on antidepressants, I knew I needed to do something big to make a difference. So, I started running and it saved my life.
I woke up one morning and had this half-baked idea. I told my husband (then fiancé) I was going to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. I didn’t know how I was going to do it with a full-time job and with kids, but I did it anyway. The journey was completed in 2013 at the Los Angeles Marathon. Nearly $400,000 has been raised for the cause so far. Accomplishing this incredible feat affectionately earned me the nickname, Marathon Goddess which also embraces the Goddess (or God) within all of us.
Julie Weiss Photo by Angela Daves-Haley
I found my new mission in life. My life’s calling became raising hope, awareness and funds for this severely underfunded disease. I could not stop. After I successfully achieved running 52 marathons, trying to resume a “normal” life was not possible. Once you reach the moon, you want to fly higher. I suddenly realized I was getting close to my 100th marathon.
In 2015, I decided to run 14 more marathons to make the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon my 100th. It took an enormous amount of exhausting hours of sweat and tears to make it to marathon 99. In fact, the last 13 marathons this past year may have been the toughest, due to the inconsistency. Nevertheless, I made it! And, on Valentine’s Day, I will mark the century milestone by completing something few have done…running 100 marathons!
Photo courtesy of Julie Weiss
I will be running the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon with the Los Angeles-based Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. They fund research and patient support right here at UCLA and 29 universities around the country. The Hirshberg Foundation’s trademarked motto is “You Can Hope, or You Can Help!” and I choose to help. I am honored to represent this devoted charity that is tirelessly working to find early detection methods and a cure for pancreatic cancer. My goal is to raise $26,200 at this marathon ($1,000 per mile). I have secured up to $25,000 in matching funds. At mile 21 of the Los Angeles Marathon (on the corner of San Vicente and Federal), I will stop and present a check to the Hirshberg Foundation, one of the official charities of the Los Angeles Marathon. It is the second to last turn before crossing the finish line. I invite all friends, supporters and volunteers to come cheer, motivate and be a part of this epic celebration and to show support for pancreatic cancer research.
What will I do next? For starters, I will welcome my first grandchild in March 2016. Yes, I will be a very young, proud grandmother. Maybe I’ll be the first grandmother to have run more than 100 marathons. Anything is possible. I hope to continue to inspire others, even grandmothers with my story. You are never too old to set a new goal. Dreams are still possible.
Photo courtesy of Julie Weiss
This Valentine’s Day will be bitter-sweet for me. Although my father is no longer here, I take comfort in knowing that I am helping current and future pancreatic cancer patients. With every step I take, with every breath I make, with every finish line I cross, it’s for the love I have for my father, my biggest fan, my friend. I know he would be proud. Together, “we got this!”
For more information about the Hirshberg Foundation or to make a donation for pancreatic cancer research, visit www.pancreatic.org.
About the author, Julie Weiss, the Marathon Goddess:
Photo courtesy of Julie Weiss
Julie has found her purpose in life. The story of how she achieved triumph out of tragedy is truly an inspiration. As one of seven celebrated runners, her amazing journey has been profiled in the brilliant documentary, Spirit of the Marathon II which was filmed in Rome. The movie features the Maratona Di Rome, the first marathon to kick-off her historic journey of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Julie always knew there was more to life and she found it through the joy of running. Currently, she is writing a book with her husband David Levine which is expected to be released in 2016.
Julie Weiss: Marathon Goddess
For more information about the Marathon Goddess, visit www.MarathonGoddess.com.
Follow Julie Weiss on these social platforms:
If you know someone with pancreatic cancer, please reach out to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research for more information. Please follow Julie Weiss to stay in the loop on her upcoming book release as well as any other marathons she might be running.
Thank you to Julie Weiss for sharing her powerful story. Congrats on achieving your 100th marathon!!
DEALS and STEALS
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