CORTLAND MANOR, N.Y. — When Luz Corona found out her mother was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2007, she wanted to do something to help.
That something was to train for a marathon with Team In Training.
Since 1988, when the first team was formed, the Team In Training has helped 540,000 people achieve their dream of completing a marathon, half-marathon, triathlon, one- or three-mile swim, hike, or 100-mile century ride. But more importantly, its participants have raised more than $1.2 billion on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“I found out about their mission and it’s really amazing. They train you and they provide you with coaches and mentors, and everything about the program sounded amazing,” said Corona, 23, a marketing assistant at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.
She signed up to compete in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco in 2011, and although she had run before, she had never run a marathon.
“I always ran for exercise and it’s always been part of my life, but I wanted to take it to the next level and I thought doing it through Team In Training was the perfect way to do it, because I would be guided by other people who are at the same level as me, and coaches and mentors,” Corona said.
Luckily, her mother's cancer was in remission, and she was able to make the trip to California to provide moral support.
“That made it a million times better, because she was there to ease my fears and she was there at the finish line, waiting for me, which made my first marathon amazing,” Corona said. “So, not only was I able to run 26 miles, but my biggest cheerleader was at the finish line.”
Corona will be mentoring runners this year for Team In Training, which is sponsoring several races in the fall, including the Hamptons Marathon, the Jarden Westchester Triathlon, the Hudson River Swim for Life in Sleepy Hollow and Viva Bike Vegas, a cycling event with three route options.
Different fundraising options are available, with participants who raise larger donations receiving perks such as travel expenses to the races. The organization also provides fundraising tips and workshops for participants.
Team In Training is holding its kickoff at 6 p.m. May 16 at the Bathhouse Pavilion at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow. The event is open to those who have already signed up for a race, but anyone interested in learning about taking part can RSVP at 914-821-8269.