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Marathon Runners Help Fight Cancer

About fifty people in the Ozarks have started training to run a marathon. But reaching the finish line is only half the goal. They are running to find a cure for cancer. KSMU's Emily Nash went to a Saturday morning training at Sequiota Park in Springfield and files this report.

Lynelle Sanders is two miles into her chilly morning run along the outdoor Ozark Greenway Trail.

This is her first time to train for a marathon.

"The weather is cold, but its actually refreshing. My pace has been a little bit better. I think it has a lot to do with the cold."

The goal: to run a marathon and find a cure for cancer.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Springfield, or LLS has kicked off its 20th annual Team in Training fundraiser.

The LLS trains runners, and then flies them to different marathon races across the country.

In return, each runner raises about 4 thousand dollars for blood cancer research.

Sanders will run the San Diego Rock and Roll marathon in June.

It's a race with a different rock band playing at every mile.

She says she got involved with LLS after some of her friends were diagnosed with blood cancers.

"And so I just realized the importance of the fundraising, and helping with just the research and just trying to give people that have cancer hope."

Sanders and about fifty other trainees began the morning at Sequiota park.

Coach Richard Johnson talked to the shivering group before they start running.

"So some of you are going three or four miles maybe some of you 5 6 or 7 miles, on a warm day I would have fluids at the iron bridge, because you will sweat a lot more on a warm day."

Most of the trainees have never done anything like this before.

So, the LLS tries to motivate the runners in creative ways.

Sheila Boutwell is the campaign director for the LLS.

"Each team is assigned an honored patient or a patient hero that's a local person that is a survivor of one of the blood cancers. So when our team members are training they are also getting to know that person, when they fundraise they are getting to know that person. And as they are training and fundraising they can see that they are just running 26 miles, and that other person is running for their life."

One of those local patient heroes is Stephanie Tscherny from Springfield.

She tells the teams Saturday morning she is a survivor of Lemphoma.

"And I have been in remission since May 2006. (applause)

Tscherny says the money raised helps cover medical expenses of patients who have blood cancers.

"The money that you are raising is going for research, that is wonderful, but it also directly to the patients. So thank you for all your efforts, and good luck!."

If you are interested in joining a Team in Training, we have a link to the LLS web site at


  • Team in Training web site