It's not often you can do something that is life-changing and helps others at the same time.
Team in Training, a project of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, offers just that, members say.
Called the world's largest endurance sports training program, Team in Training uses certified coaches to teach volunteers how to complete half and whole marathons, triathlons and century bike rides safely and without risking injury.
Team members raise money to help battle blood cancers and to provide support for those who suffer from the diseases. In return, they get expert coaching, a group of committed friends to work with and expense-paid trips to accredited events and their own Web pages for fund-raising.
Founded in 1988, Team in Training is set to raise $150million this year, for a total of $1 billion over its 20-year history, according to Kathy Cunningham, a member of the Western North Carolina Chapter's Hickory-Statesville team.
The program has given her not only new friends but confidence in handling whatever life throws her way, Cunningham said.
“You take the team and the marathon experience with you,” Cunningham said. “It's not something that ends when you cross the finish line. The experience, and faith in God, become the foundation of strength for what life presents you.”
Right now, members of the team are training to run half or full marathons in December and January .
Members dedicate each race to a special patient, according to Cunningham. For the race at Kiawah Island, S.C., in December, it's Joshua Lancaster, 3, who was diagnosed with leukemia in April.
The event is special as well because Joshua's mother, Nicole Lancaster, is also training to run, Cunningham said.
In addition to individual fundraising, chapters also hold special events as a team. This month, it's Joshua's Dance, set for 6:30-9 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Statesville Civic Center.