Runners on a marathon mission for good cause Pair will participate in San Diego Marathon for victim of leukemia

first_img Runners on a marathon mission for good cause Pair will participate in San Diego Marathon for victim of leukemia JEFF HUNTLEY Caitlin Moscatello and Jenni Krystopowitz, juniors at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, show off the wristband they will wear when they participate in the San Diego Marathon to help raise money for a Cherry Hill boy diagnosed with leukemia. Caitlin Moscatello and Jenni Krystopowitz will never have to go very far for inspiration as they prepare for the San Diego Marathon on June 3. All they have to do is look at their bracelets to remind them why they are subjecting themselves to one of the most grueling physical tests of athletics, running 26.2 miles. The Rumson Fair-Haven Regional juniors are runners with a mission. They are members of Team in Training, an organization of volunteer athletes who compete in endurance races to raise money for victims of leukemia and lymphoma. Their goal is to raise $10,000 for people suffering from these diseases and at the same time increase public awareness of them. Leukemia, for instance, kills more children under the age of 15 than any other disease. Krystopowitz and Moscatello are running for 8-year-old Ian Effron of Cherry Hill, who was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma in 1998. Fortunately, Ian is in remission at this time. But Ian is an example of how anyone can be stricken by the illness at any time. “It really can happen to anyone,” said Krystopowitz. “It makes you realize how lucky you are to be healthy.” Moscatello noted that being diagnosed with such a disease is a reality check. “When you realize it’s the No. 1 killer of teen-agers, it makes an impression,” she said. Moscatello and Krystopowitz have been in correspondence with Ian, and each has a bracelet with his name on it to remind them of why they are participating in the marathon. “We’ve both written to Ian and received responses from him,” Moscatello said. “We learned so much about him, how he likes playing soccer and is excited about what we are doing. That alone makes you want to do it.” Krystopowitz noted that corresponding with young Ian and getting to know him adds a personal touch to what they are doing. “It makes it more personal when you know who you’re running for,” she explained. “In most ways he’s like any 8-year-old. He has let us know that he’s happy with what we’re doing. “He’s an inspiration to us,” she added. “It’s motivation for those cold days when you don’t want to go out and run.” Moscatello and Krystopowitz will begin their training for the San Diego Marathon in earnest with Team in Training this week. The organization will provide them with an experienced trainer who will give them a program to follow in the months leading up to the marathon. At times, the Rumson teens will work out with other young Team in Training runners who are also preparing for the San Diego event. Krystopowitz and Moscatello have a background in distance running. They are members of Rumson Fair-Haven’s highly successful cross country team. The Bulldog girls won the Group I state championship in 1999, and last year, the team still ranked among the Top 10 in the state and won a Shore Conference division title. During this cross country season, Moscatello and Krystopowitz began training together for the marathon. They are familiar figures on the local roads. “When we go running, people recognize us and beep their horns,” Moscatello said. Staff Writer By tim morris last_img

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