‘Marathon Goddess’ will run in Kauai

If you want to meet a goddess, here’s your chance.

Julie Weiss, who goes by “Marathon Goddess,” will be here for the Kauai Marathon on Sept. 1.

This supposed immortal, though, is not here in pursuit of a personal best for running 26.2 miles. She’s not here to race the clock. She’s here to raise awareness and money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Her father Maurice was diagnosed and passed away in December 2010 from pancreatic cancer, just one week before his daughter qualified to run the Boston Marathon.

Her dad, she said, was her biggest fan and as she crossed the finish line both hands up and fingers pointing to the sky, she knew her father was there cheering.

“Through my love of running, my love of life and my love for my father I plan to raise hope, money and awareness to the world for those who have been affected by pancreatic cancer,” Weiss said.

This will be her second straight year competing in the Kauai Marathon.

Last year, her mission was to run 52 marathons in one year – one marathon a week in what she called “52 for You.” The 2012 Kauai Marathon was race number 20 in her 52-marathon journey.

Besides running while on island, Weiss will be speaking at the marathon expo.

Her presentation scheduled for noon Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Grand Hyatt Kauai is titled, “52 Marathons in 52 Weeks — The Journey!”

“She has amazing tales of perseverance, and the will to keep going against all odds,” according to a press release. “Ultimately, she finished 52 marathons, 1,362.4 miles raising nearly $200,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.”

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and research is severely underfunded, the release said, one reason Weiss chose to “fight this horrible disease.”

Bringing awareness and raising funds to help in the fight against it are high on her priority list. She also is committed to living a healthful life, as well as setting an example for others.

“Focusing on nutrition, exercise and peace of mind are all components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well,” she said.

Hawaii also has a special place in Julie’s heart, which makes running the Kauai Marathon even more special for her.

“I always feel at home when I am on Kauai, the spirit and people, the relaxing nature and peacefulness of it, it just feels like where I belong,” she said in a press release.

The Fifth annual Kauai Marathon is scheduled Sunday, Sept. 1 beginning at 6 a.m.

The marathon and half-marathon events begin on Poipu Road in front of the Poipu Shopping Village. Online registration deadline is Aug. 29.

Info: www.thekauaimarathon.com.

•••

Speaking of determination, I want to share a quick story about my son, Nick. He was scheduled to compete in the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon Aug. 10. The race includes a nearly mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. Right before the swim, his wetsuit zipper broke. Two people tried to help him fix it. No go. He had a few choices: Try to quickly track down another wetsuit; skip the swim, or swim without the wetsuit. If it had been me, my day was over, because no way would I swim way out in Lake Coeur d’Alene without the safety net of my wetsuit. There’s great comfort in a wetsuit when you’re in the middle of a lake. Nick, though, went without the wetsuit.

He later admitted he started to panic when he was out there. Breathing became difficult. He wondered if he could make it. Not only is swimming without a wetsuit in choppy lake water more physically demanding, it’s mentally challenging. Still, he finished the swim and the race. Slower than he would have with a wetsuit, but he made it. He handled an unexpected situation well. He didn’t let fears or doubts stop him. He could have stayed on shore, safe, and watched. Instead, he opted to get out there, believe in himself, depend on his abilities, and dive in. It was a good life lesson for him — and me, too.

• Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

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