Every mile Holly Springs resident Brian Egler runs, he thinks of all those who fight valiantly every day against cancer.
On April 15, Egler will run in the 117th Boston Marathon with more than 550 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates from across the United States and around the world.
This year’s goal is to raise $4.6 million for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. One hundred percent of the money raised by the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team goes directly to fund the research of the Barr Program investigators.
This year marks the 24th annual running of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team and Egler’s 13th time participating in the race. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $56 million since its inception in 1990.
Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners include cancer survivors and patients, and family and friends of those who have been affected by cancer. Runners of all abilities, including some who are time-qualified to compete in the Boston Marathon, from all over the country and around the world participate with the goal of helping to put an end to cancer.
Egler has raised approximately $5,000 each race he has run and in 2012 collected $5,500. Over the years he figures he has contributed around $50,000 for cancer research through his individual runs.
“I like that 100 percent of the donations go to their cancer research programs,” says Egler. “Everything is run by volunteers and it is a very well-run program.”
Another important aspect of the program is the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Patient Partner Program. Approximately 50 current and former pediatric cancer patients of Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic are paired with Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners. The young patients serve as special motivation for the runners and the partnerships with Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners provides them with something to focus on besides their illnesses.
Egler lived in Boston for about 15 years where he ran his first four marathons. He moved to Holly Springs in 2005.
“Holly Springs is a nicer place to train, but there is no group to train with,” says Egler.
He tends to take the summer off and ramps up his training again in September.
“It is always kind of difficult getting back into it. As long as you stick to the plan and do the long runs, you are ready for the day of the race.”
The race begins in Hopkinton and winds its way into downtown Boston past Fenway Park where many Dana-Farber cancer patients are waiting to cheer on the runners.
“Heartbreak Hill is just after the 20-mile marker and we need a little bit of an uplift to get over the hill and seeing all those cancer patients there cheering us on pushes us to continue, “ says Egler. “Our saying is ‘cancer is hard, this is just a hill.’ ”
Cancer has touched Egler’s own life as well. He has lost several family members over the years to the disease.
Says Egler, “There is always someone who is affected by cancer.”
When he first started, Egler took pledges and then went around and collected after the race.
“Now, people are very generous and trusting, assuming I am going to complete the race,” laughs Egler.
The 55-year-old Egler usually tries to complete the race in four hours.
“My objective is to complete the race for a good cause. I am not going to set any records. I plan to keep running until my knees give way I guess.”
To sponsor Brian Egler in this year’s marathon, visit his fundraising link at www.runDFMC.org/2013/briane. You also can follow DFMC on Facebook at www.facebook/marathonchallenge.
To contact Nancy Catrine, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-552-5675.