Marie Ortiz of TeamAICR, winning races and running marathons to inspire others

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“You are running not just for yourself, you are running to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Marie Ortiz, who has run over 40 marathons since 2007 and in that time, she has battled breast cancer twice. This April, she will be running the London Marathon as part of TeamAICR. Here, Ortiz, a mother of four, shares her motivating story and why she has persistently strived over the years to run with TeamAICR.

What motivated you to start running marathons?

I ran in high school and college but after I had my first child in 1994, it was really hard for me to fit exercise in to my schedule. But, I resumed. Running was an activity where, at any given time, I could just put on my shoes and go for a run. My husband said, “you are always running and you are always doing these short little races and winning. Why don’t you challenge yourself a bit more and try doing a half or full marathon?” So, I signed up for a half marathon, and then a full marathon. I think my husband thought it was a one-and-done bucket list check off thing. But I thought to myself, wow, I really like this!

What led you to want to run with TeamAICR?

My diagnosis is the reason I signed up. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought it is very important for people to know to get their mammogram done and also to eat well and exercise. Cancer research is also very near and dear to my heart.

Did you keep running after the diagnosis?

Yes. All my doctors encouraged me to keep running to an extent while I was going through [treatment]. I was going through radiation when I was supposed to run the marathon with TeamAICR in 2013 but my doctors said I would be too worn out to train. There is a big difference between running 3-5 miles and 26.2 miles. Read more… “Marie Ortiz of TeamAICR, winning races and running marathons to inspire others”


    AICR’s Cancer Fighter of the Month: Running Marathons

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    Tracy (on right) at the Chicago marathon

    We hear so many inspiring stories here at AICR that we wanted to highlight some of the survivors, researchers, and others making a difference in cancer prevention and survivorship research. To kick off marathon season, our first AICR Cancer Fighter of the Month is a runner who became a part of TeamAICR five years ago.

    In 2011, TeamAICR runners raised more than $65,000 for cancer research.

    Tracy LosBañes was TeamAICR’s top individual fundraiser last year. Like many runners, Tracy came to AICR with a passion for running and, like most other runners, she has been touched by cancer: her father was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Read more… “AICR’s Cancer Fighter of the Month: Running Marathons”