Going the distance for breast cancer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Going the distance for breast cancer

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October 22, 2006

Albany -- Training for a 26.2-mile marathon can be grueling, but some Albany runners are taking that challenge to run through New York City come November. And they're running for a reason.

They'll bring attention to a disease that is expected to kill more than 40,000 women nationwide this year, according to the American Cancer Society. An Albany group running in the New York Marathon, wants to raise awareness of breast cancer.

It's both a physical and mental test these runners are up against. A 26.2 mile run, in just a few weeks can pysch anyone out of the challenge, but not the Albany Run/Walk group.

Team members have one good reason to hit the pavement each day for training.

"Sabrina inspires us because she shows up and she's positive, and she still keeps that drive and motivation," said Tonya Kilpatrick.

It's hard enough to go through the experience once, but for the second time around, group member Sabrina Powell is battling breast cancer.

"At first you're shocked, you go through a grieving process, but I think I have migrated to the point where I'm trying to stay positive," said Powell.

Sabrina underwent a series of chemotherapy when she was first diagnosed in 2000. This time the cancer is in her lungs, so she's still fighting.

"It's overwhelming and humbling at the same time. I just didn't realize that I meant so much to the group," said Powell.

It's clear to see she does mean that much. The team is inspired to run the marathon for Sabrina as she overcomes the battle again. No matter what their physical toll is.

Training for a marathon takes more than just daily running, this team dedicates hours a week at the gym, to get their bodies ready.

Ready to run and share the importance breast cancer awareness. Team captain Paula Bacon says it's tough to be physically fit for a marathon, but it's also a mental challenge.

"Getting up in the morning to get to your training, going that extra mile when you know you have a 20 mile training run and you're on mile 15, and you have another five miles to go, you pull it out of somewhere," said Paula Bacon.

It's a mental and physical fight for Sabrina too.Through it all she's already completed two full marathons, and several half marathons. While she won't be in the New York marathon this year, she's thankful to have teammates who are running and supporting her.

"This group gives me hope, I have hope, that I will be this again, and go back to doing what I like doing," said Powell.

As the New York Marathon gets closer, so do the teammates as they learn from each other.

"If you just surrender and just let people help, you'll feel the power or prayer, and you'll feel the support, and gosh, you can run a marathon too if you feel all that," said Kilpatrick.

And this time it's for Sabrina. No matter what the distance, these runners will run in her honor, and spread breast cancer awareness to others.

The New York Marathon is November 5th. It's a 26.2 mile run through the five burroughs of the city.

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