Fort Mill Times

Marathon man went to Boston on mission

John Zeidner wore a shirt decorated with the names of supporters when he ran in the Boston Marathon in April.
John Zeidner wore a shirt decorated with the names of supporters when he ran in the Boston Marathon in April.

Earlier this year, John Zeidner was given "the opportunity of a lifetime" and he took it.

Zeidner, 44, had been asked to run in the 2009 Boston Marathon with Lance Armstrong's Team LIVESTRONG. Armstrong, a champion cyclist and cancer survivor has dedicated his life to promoting healthy living initiatives such as LIVESTRONG and raising money for cancer research.

" I think fundraising for cancer fighting organizations like The Lance Armstrong Foundation is extremely important because cancer effects just about everyone we know," Zeidner said.

"Whether it's ourselves or our loved ones or friends or neighbors, at any given time it seems we all know someone battling cancer. An American dies of cancer every single minute of every single day. That's about 1,500 Americans every day. Not only does fundraising help generate much needed money for people currently fighting cancer, others that are living after their cancer treatments, and for vital medical research to find cures, it also raises awareness of the disease in our communities, schools, churches and workplace and the need for all of us to do our part to make a difference."

To even be asked to run this marathon, you must qualify by running other marathons and finishing them in better than average times. Zeidner spent more than two months training here in Fort Mill and Tega Cay in the famous yellow Team LIVESTRONG uniform.

Leading up to the marathon, which was held in mid-April, Zeidner did quite a bit of fundraising himself. For every person who made a donation, Zeidner put a name of a requested loved one on the jersey he wore to run the marathon. The yellow jersey was filled with about 70 names.

"They ranged from parents - like mine; Grandparents, uncles, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors as far away as Brisbane, Australia. Each and every name came to me from the people who donated with an inspiring story of courage, strength and determination that helped train for my marathon and carried me through the race," Zeidner said.

Zeidner alone raised $6,000 for The Lance Armstrong Foundation. The entire LIVESTRONG team rose more than $150,000.

On race day, Zeidner donned his yellow garb and race bib - number 25275 - and went out into the streets for the oldest and most prestigious foot race in the world.

Zeidner placed about 18,000th out of 27,000 runners with a time of 4:19:05.

John Zeidner wore a shirt decorated with the names of supporters when he ran in the Boston Marathon in April.

Want to know more?

To make a donation, or for more information, visit www.livestrong.org/grassroots2009/johnzboston09

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