There were 385 runners that finished the Kona Marathon today. Of those runners, there was one in particular running for a cause with a very eager goal. Julie Weiss, aka The Marathon Goddess, is also proud to say that a trip to Hawaii in 2007 "changed her life".
On a family vacation in 2007 Julie "found" running. After returning home to Santa Monica, CA Julie continued her runs on the beach, replacing antidepressants with exercise. More connected with her body, she felt that she found her calling. The next year, Julie ran her first marathon. Not only did she experience the obvious health benefits of running (having been overweight and on antidepressants in 2007), she found a that she also became closer to her father, Maurice. Her father truly enjoyed seeing her run, with the dream for her of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
On October 18, 2010, the Weiss family’s lives changed forever - Maurice was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Just over 1 month later, on November 24, 2010, Maurice’s battle was over. 1 week later, a bittersweet victory on her 19th attempt, Julie qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Julie Weiss with her late father, Maurice
Returning to Hawaii this weekend, not for vacation but as part of her goal of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Her inspiration - a life lost, her father.
Julie learned much about pancreatic cancer including the fact that many diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have limited time after their diagnosis due to the fact that it is a difficult type of cancer to diagnose, as was the case with her father. She also learned that it is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death while being the least-funded. The awareness of this imbalance led Julie to her quest - In honor of her father, she will run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, while raising money for pancreatic cancer research. Through her love of running, love of life and love for her father she plans to raise hope, money and awareness to the world for those who have been affected by pancreatic cancer.
Julie's website says it well: When you do what you love, for those you love, that is where the miracles happen. Together we can make a difference, and pave the way to a happy, healthy, cancer free life.
How can you help? Julie seeks sponsors through her website to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Julie is also looking for corporate sponsorships.