"I'm not a natural runner," said Walnut Grove's Courtney Sorge.
Despite that, the new mom and teacher is heading down to the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco this year for the fourth time since 2010.
She's doing it to raise money to find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma, through the Team in Training organization.
Her odyssey from being a sometime-soccer player to a marathoner began in 2010.
"I have three older brothers, and one of them was diagnosed with leukemia," Sorge said.
Her brother Cory was diagnosed in March. In April, she saw a Team in Training sign. The athletic endeavours support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, letting people run, walk, cycle, or do triathlons to raise money.
"I thought, 'I could run a half marathon,'" Sorge said.
Getting up to speed was not a fun process for the first race.
"Terrible," she said of her efforts to become more than a casual runner. "I was basically training and running during my brother's treatment." A teacher, she had the summer off work. "We spent most days at the hospital with my brother," she remembered.
He passed away and his funeral was held two weeks before the Oct. 14 marathon.
"It was so hard, I didn't even know if I was going to go anymore," she said.
But she decided to head down and put her training to the test, and her parents and husband went with her.
She keeps going back, including running in the early stages of pregnancy in 2011, and then running after just six weeks of training following the birth of her son, Kayden Cory, in 2012.
"I'm not fast," said Sorge. "It's about finishing." Her dedication to staying the course has been even more impressive in her fundraising.
Sorge has a goal of raising a total of $30,000 by this year's marathon, dating back to her start four years ago.
She's almost to her goal, with $27,000 raised since 2010. To hit the big number, she started her money-raising efforts earlier than normal this year.
Her fundraising has been so impressive that Team in Training has recruited Sorge as a fundraising mentor.
"I help new participants," she said.
Sorge is aiding seven other fundraisers, giving them tips on how to hold a pub night or other events. She offers up examples of her own past successful efforts, so they won't have to re-invent the wheel.
@ Copyright 2013