A race where people can really go the distance for raising awareness and money for the important work being done on blood cancers. It's the inaugural "The Journey" Endurance Run created by Eric Gelber to raise funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Some New Yorkers spent 12 hours running non-stop.
"I ran 200 miles and all these people came out and supported me. Why don't we create an event where they can run and I can support them," Gelber said.
Gelber was affectionately dubbed "200 Mile Man" for his ability to conquer 200 miles consecutively in Central Park.
He knows something about the long haul of an endurance run. All three of his attempts are the theme of the Tribeca Films "200 Miles"
His wife, Tani, and their families acted as a support team for his challenge, which was an attempt to reach the 1 million dollar fundraising point for the MMRF.
Eric compared the effort of endurance running to fighting illness.
"A lot of challenges. One minute you feel good, one minute you don't. Just like when people are sick, there are good days and bad days. That's why doing this is symbolic, it just of kind of makes sense," he said.
The relay run course is a 4-mile loop on Randall's Island. Participants are allowed individuals or teams to get the most miles they could in a 12 hour time period.
Even patients participate.
"I am so thankful you all came out to raise funds for the MMRF. As a patient, I can't thank you enough for giving up 12 plus hours of your day doing loops and loops and loops. Truly, thank you, everybody," Sally Kalksma said.
Kalksma has experienced the kind of life-changing results that come from additional treatments found through research funded in events just like "The Journey."
She also ran herself in "The Journey." She has used fitness as an inspiration for recovery.
"I had my stem cell transplant a year and a half ago and when I was in the hospital I set a goal to do a race 5 months later. I just keep setting goals to get myself in better shape!" Kalksma said.
Kalksma is one of many patients who are in treatment and can still participate in the race of life -- even in physically demanding events, Kalksma has become a competitive stair climber.
Gelber pointed out how new medications are making it possible for patients to participate and even excel at athletic endeavors.
"We actually have 4 people living with multiple myeloma that are on the course, they are doing the run for 12 hours solo," Gelber said.
Fundraising efforts like "The Journey" endurance run are how research programs are not just taking steps but huge leaps in moving towards cancer cures. During the first-ever "The Journey" event- participants logged more than 1600 miles and raised more than $185,000.
Find out more and chose your own endurance charity event here.
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