Running a marathon is grueling. Between the hours spent preparing and the race day itself, runners push themselves to their physical and mental brink.
It helps when you have friends to help you along the way. Enter the Van Andel Institute Marathon Team.
VAI's Marathon Team represents the Institute at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon. Runners from across the country band together to raise vital funds for biomedical research and science education at VAI.
Van Andel Institute Purple Community, a grassroots fundraising and awareness program, provides support along the way for every Marathon Team member. This includes fitness training, group meals and meet-ups in Chicago and New York before and after each marathon.
Team members also support one another, connected by a shared drive to raise money for the Institute's research into diseases like cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Many Marathon Team members run to honor a loved one who has been affected by one of these devastating diseases.
"Running to honor a friend or family member is part of what makes joining VAI's Marathon Team such a powerful experience," said Ashley Owen, senior event coordinator, Van Andel Institute Purple Community, which oversees organization of the Marathon Team. "It helps propel you forward when you know that 100% of the money you're raising will go toward fighting the devastating diseases that claim too many of our loved ones."
Because the VAI Marathon Team is an official charity partner of both marathons, team members get guaranteed free entry. Each team member raises a minimum of $1,750 each for the Chicago marathon and a minimum of $3,000 each for the New York City marathon.
"The fundraising requirement for each marathon is small, and Marathon Team members have VAI's full support throughout the entire process," said Owen. "Our runners are not only working toward personal goals at the marathons, they are contributing directly to the research and education initiatives at the Institute."
The VAI Marathon Team is preparing to participate in both marathons in 2020. The Chicago marathon is set for Sunday, October 11, 2020 and the New York City marathon follows shortly after on Sunday, November 1, 2020. VAI Marathon Team enrollment is ongoing for the Chicago marathon, with details for participating in the New York City marathon expected by late winter.
To learn more about the Van Andel Institute Marathon Team, visit Van Andel Institute Purple Community.
Courtesy of Van Andel Institute.