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Locals run for arthritis research

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Marathoners to raise $10K for arthritis society

It’s a long way to finish line, but it’s an even longer way to the start for a pair of Whistler runners in training for their first marathon.

As representatives of the Arthritis Society’s Joints In Motion program, Allana Hamm and Megan Wastle have to raise $5,000 each in donations towards arthritis research to participate in the Dublin, Ireland, marathon on Oct. 28. If they raise the money, the corporate sponsors of Joints in Motion will cover the cost of airfare and accommodations, along with those costs for up to 150 other Joints in Motion representatives from North America.

Now both runners are dividing their free time between training for the run, and fund-raising for the trip. It’s a lot of work, but for both Hamm and Wastle, arthritis research is personal.

"Both of us have people in our lives who have arthritis," said Hamm. "The Joints in Motion program is a great way to help find the cure, and it’s also a good way to get motivated to run a marathon."

Hamm will be running for her mother, Patricia, who suffers from osteoarthritis. Wastle will be running in memory of a grandfather who had rheumatoid arthritis.

All of the money raised by Hamm and Wastle will go towards arthritis research. In return for raising the money, their airfare and accommodation will be paid for by Joints In Motion corporate sponsors.

The same sponsors also provide a coach to help Hamm and Wastle get into shape for the marathon. Currently they are running four times a week and cross-training twice a week.

Despite the fact that the marathon will be a first for either athlete, both hope to complete the 42 kilometre race in under four hours.

Hamm has lived in Whistler for seven years, and works for Whistler-Blackcomb and Teppan Village. She ran her first 10K race in Whistler last year and got hooked on the sport. She has completed in several 10K runs since and in February completed a half marathon.

Wastle has been in Whistler since 1992 and works for Whiski Jack Resort and Teppan Village. She has been running for two years, and recently completed her first half marathon.

Together they have already raised $4,000 towards the $10,000 minimum that they hope to raise, and through the summer they will be hosting fund-raising events. For the upcoming Boneyard Wars between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, a spin-off from the popular television show Junkyard Wars, they will be hosting the after parties at the GLC. They also have an event planned for the Dubh Linn Gate.

"We wanted to get out as much as we could so people could see who we are and learn a little more about what we’re doing and why," said Hamm.

Joints in Motion has already raised more than $500,000 for arthritis research, a number which they could double this year with participating marathons in Dublin and Honolulu.

According to the Arthritis Society, one in seven Canadians have arthritis, including more than half a million people in B.C. Of that half-million, 85,000 people are severely limited in their daily activities.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis conditions that affect joints and other connective tissues. The most common forms are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It is estimated that arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases cost the Canadian Health Care System $17.8 billion each year.

To help with fund-raising efforts, or to make a donation, contact Allana Hamm at 604-932-4261 or Megan Wastle at 604-932-2975.

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