Some run to raise money in Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon

From left, Executive Director of the New York-Vermont chapter of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Chair of the Board Laura Petrovic and Trustee Heather Ford at the 14th annual Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon at the Olympic Speedskating Oval Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — The sun shone through a handful of clouds as racers of the 14th annual Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon crossed the finish line at the Olympic Speedskating Oval Sunday.

Some people fell to the ground and double-fisted paper cups of water and Gatorade. Others grabbed their medals, hugged their loved ones and cried tears of accomplishment. Dance-workout remixes of classic songs such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” surrounded the runners, volunteers and well-wishers.

While some folks ran to achieve the best time and others ran to prove to themselves that they can go the distance (26.2 or 13.1 miles to be exact), some people ran for bigger causes.

Two prominent groups in the runs were Team in Training and the Salt City Road Warriors.

Team in Training is a charity endurance program that operates under the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Different chapters all around the world participate in marathons, triathlons, hikes, bicycle races and other physical competitions in order to raise money for blood cancer research and treatment. They wear purple T-shirts, which match the corresponding cancer ribbon.

From left, Kelly Connolly, Evelyn Czyz, Tom Czyz, Founder and Coach Maureen Clark, Rebecca Bostwick and Paul Madden of the Salt City Road Warriors pose after their team finishes up at the Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

“Today we had 16 participants,” said Maureen O’Brien, executive director of the Upstate NY-VT chapter of LLS. “All together they have raised over $26,000 for the organization.”

Team in Training has been running in the Lake Placid Marathon since its inception in 2004. At one point they had more than 50 people running with the group. This year, everyone on the team ran the half marathon. O’Brien said the hills make Lake Placid a particularly tough run.

O’Brien has been working with Team in Training and LLS for nearly two decades, and her passion only grows stronger as time pushes forward.

“I have several people in my life that have been affected,” she said. “Some we’ve lost. I’ve been doing this for 19 years, so you get to know a lot of people that have been diagnosed, survived or lost a battle. A lot of great improvements have happened. People are living longer and better lives because of all the research that brings new treatment, but we’re still losing people, so the fight continues.”

The Road Warriors are a similar group based in Syracuse that raises funds for the Upstate Medical Foundation. This is the Road Warriors’ eighth year running in the Lake Placid. Over that time, the group has raised over $220,000 dollars toward medical research. This past season, they raised $36,000.

Founder and Coach of the Salt City Road Warriors Maureen Clark said their efforts don’t go toward the same cause each year but rather disease itself.

“We usually pick diseases that have affected someone in our group,” she said. “This year we’re funding pediatric bone cancer. One of our team members has a friend whose son suffers from pediatric bone cancer. We’re also supporting breast cancer. We’re also helping a burn and scar unit.”