Support Team JCFS at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

I said I’d never run a marathon. I said people who run marathons are insane. Just last year I said that.

Yet today, I’m team captain, chief nag, shirt designer, Razoo addict, and happy back-of-the-packer for Team JCFS, 18+ individuals raising $18,000+ as we take on the challenge of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

We’re JCFS staff, friends, and family, ranging in age from 24 to 60, 11 first-time marathoners among us, united by a common goal – to raise awareness and funds for JCFS.

It was easy to come up with 26.2 reasons for collectively doing this. Likewise, it’s easy to boil it down to three reasons why I’m personally doing this: Since turning 40, I’ve grown to love running. Like Eric, I’m remarkably stubborn. But mostly, I'm running for a little boy with autism who loves The Yellow Submarine. For the young woman who moved into her own home this month, a safe home, after years without one. For the therapist who didn't mind blue finger paint drips on her carpet. For the man in recovery who says the time is now, the exhausted mom who sits and sighs on the couch in our Chicago office every Monday at 6. The volunteer who always says yes, the funder who says let's try, and the earnest man who empties the office garbage not once, not twice, but three times a day. These are the faces of JCFS -- a place that is close to my heart.

What inspired you to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team JCFS?

For me, it all boils down to the fact that Jewish Child and Family Services makes a profound difference in people’s lives. And I want everyone to know that, whether they are in a position to support JCFS or whether they know someone who could benefit from the support of JCFS.

What program are you running for?

I am running for all JCFS programs. (What’s your answer when your kids ask you who you love most?)

How does JCFS Redefine What’s Possible?

Once upon a time, JCFS was there for my family. Thanks to JCFS, we received the support and tools we needed to get back on track. Today, as a JCFS professional, I am part of an organization that helps thousands of families get back on track each year. Every day is like taking the compassion and support my family felt and multiplying it by 26,311 – the number of lives JCFS touched in FY11. When I watch a kid who never succeeded in any other setting accept his diploma at the JCFS Therapeutic Day School, I feel it. When a teen who survived years of trauma proudly shows me the green belt she earned in JCFS Family Commons Tae Kwon Do class, I feel it. When siblings with and without special needs sprint away from the exit at Sunday Respite pick-up because three hours just wasn’t enough, I feel it. When kids without words begin to communicate and when Holocaust survivors without family light the menorah with community, how can you not feel it?

What will you be thinking about at mile 20?

The plan, thanks to my teammate Margaret, is to dedicate each mile to someone in my life who has believed in me, supported me or otherwise inspired me. Those final six miles will be uncharted territory, so you can be sure I’ll be digging deep to tap the strength of some pretty special people.

What food will you hunt down after the race to replenish those 2600 calories?

A large cappuccino chip milk shake from Homer’s.

What do you love about running?

For 40 years, I hated running but now I love it. Solitude, serenity, strength and nature – in short. For the longer version, read this post I wrote before my first race last June.

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