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Student runs marathon to raise disease awareness

Cailin Crowe | Monday, October 8, 2012

While much of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities spent Sunday recovering from this weekend’s gameday festivities in Chicago and preparing for midterms, Saint Mary’s senior Emily Pearl revved up for the Chicago Marathon.

Pearl ran the marathon to raise money for Steps for Doug, an organization advocating research and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She said the cause was personal for her, as the organization was established in honor of a friend’s father diagnosed with the disease.

Pearl, who does not consider herself an avid runner, encourages everyone to take part in a marathon.

“I think anyone who has ever thought about doing a marathon should. It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “I’m not even a runner, but it was still something I would consider doing again and again. As long as you put your mind to it, anyone can do it.”

After struggling in last year’s marathon, Pearl came better prepared to this year’s race.

“Last year was my first time running [a marathon], so I didn’t know what to expect. I started the race too fast and was not thinking about the four hours I had left to run,” she said. “This year, I knew what was ahead of me and I did a better job pacing myself.”

She said the milder weather made this year’s race more manageable.

“The weather was awesome. It was chilly out, which was perfect for running,” she said. “It was really hot last year, which made the run difficult. I feel most tired when I’m hot so it was great having a little chill in the air this year.”

Pearl said she is now considering participating in a triathlon, but will definitely be competing in more marathons in the meantime.

“I am definitely going to continue running marathons,” she said. “During the actual race I always tell myself that I’m never going to sign up again because of how long it is, but the feeling I get when I’ve finished the race is like nothing else.”