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Marathon Training Small Chore for Chatham Teachers

Teachers say their efforts to get ready for the 13.1-mile run is nothing compared to those who suffer from these diseases.

On Thursday, Chatham Patch told you about 14 teachers and administrators in the School District of the Chathams currently in training for a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Thirteen of those running work at Chatham Middle School. Superintendent Dr. Michael LaSusa also signed up to run.

The marathon takes place in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nov. 18. That's six weeks away, but when you're preparing to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles, six weeks does not feel like a lot of time.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has a program called Team in Training (TNT), which helps runners train for the event. TNT offers coaches, group runs, soft workouts such as yoga and other programs with others training for the Philadelphia marathon.

Gail Walsh, a teacher at CMS, has done some TNT training with the group in Middlesex County. "It's been very helpful to know there's someone there as a go-to for long runs," Walsh said. "That has gotten me to different park systems and getting to know the area," she said.

She runs two to four miles before school a few days each week, with longer runs on weekends. On days when she doesn't run, she takes a gentle yoga class.

Teacher Doree Kesselbrenner's last Team in Training event was a triathlon in June. "I just carried all that training over," she said, though running has been difficult after she suffered shin splints earlier this year.

Since then, she said, "I've been focusing my efforts on not running." She trains by biking and swimming to keep her endurance up. Only recently, after seeking medical attention for the splints, has she started running again.

Assistant Principal Peter Trebour, the team captain, said some staff members have participated in the group events. "Others of us, because of schedules, have been doing it on our own," Trebour said. For example, he and Carole Soder, a school counselor at CMS, tend to train at Giralda Farms.

"As soon as I see him, I get choked up," Soder said. "Pete is such an inspiration. ... He's doing five, six, seven loops on a Sunday, and I'm struggling to do three."

During the week, she does crosstraining and cardio, such as kickboxing.

Soder used to compete in marathons and triathlons as an individual, but she stopped about five years ago. "This is the first race I've done where it's a fundraiser and it's for someone, and it's a really different experience," Soder said. "It feels like such a nice team effort. We're all in it together."

Debby Connon from CMS's main office has never run more than five kilometers in a race before. Thanks to her training she is now up to seven miles. "I only ran three before, I figure I have six weeks left," she said. "It's been actually easier than I thought, which is encouraging."

Most of the energy in a run like this does not come from the runners, but from the people who cheer them on from the sidelines. "The crowds are amazing. [They're] very helpful in cheering you along," Walsh said. "Those crowds, they keep you going, especially when it can be cold or different climates."

"And we all have each other," Connon added. "We all run at different paces, but we know we're there."

One thing Trebour, Kesselbrenner and Connon agreed on: Superintendent Michael LaSusa was most likely to finish with the best time out of all of them. "He's doing the full marathon, and he will probably finish an hour and a half before me," Trebour said. "He's just fast."

This is Trebour's first Team in Training event, but he has done five other marathons in the last 12 months "for fun. But this one is very different, because I have this goal for it," he said.

Soder, Kesselbrenner, Connon and Walsh will run the half marathon.

The runners will go down to Philadelphia the night before the race, which begins at 7 a.m. "It'll be good incentive to run and stay warm," Connon said.

The team has a page through the Team In Training website where people can donate.

To learn about the personal connections team members have with leukemia and lymphoma, check back with Chatham Patch Monday.

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