Courtney Holden

 Courtney Holden

Senior's Run at Chicago Marathon to Aid Cancer Research

October 19, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - To say that Courtney Holden likes to run is an understatement.

The Illinois Wesleyan University senior English major will compete as one of the 40,000 runners in the La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 22. Like all marathons, it's 26.2 miles long. But Holden's involvement this year is more than just a competition; it's also been an opportunity for her to raise money for cancer research.

Holden decided to register for the marathon through a charity as a fundraiser. "I chose the American Cancer Society because both my mom and grandma passed away from ovarian cancer," she said. In order to run the race, Holden had to raise at least $1,250 through donations on the organization's Web site - a goal she has exceeded.

Holden - who is a graduate of Hononegah Community High School in Roscoe, Ill. - ran the Chicago Marathon last year, as well. The training for marathons, she has learned, is intense.

"The longest training you do is for 20 miles," she said. In the 26.2-mile race, "for the last six miles, it's like 'good luck!'"

"I do two hours of cardio every day," she said. On a typical day, she might jog in the morning, jump rope after class, and then attend an exercise class in the evening.

Holden realizes her flexible schedule won't last forever, and her plans for next year's marathon are still undecided. "Right now, I don't have a structured schedule. I can work out for two hours a day," she said. She'll consider running half marathons in the future, "as the amount of time I have diminishes."

Holden is excited to have another opportunity to run in the Chicago Marathon, which is one of the largest marathon road races in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing. "The atmosphere is just amazing," she said of her participation last year. Over 1.5 million spectators line the streets to watch the runners.

During the race, Holden will meet up with friends she trained with last year, and plans to tell them about her study-abroad experience last semester, when she attended the University of Nantes in France through the The Institute for the International Education of Students program. "That'll make the time go by faster," she said.

Donations to sponsor Holden are accepted through Nov. 15 at the American Cancer Society's Web site,

Contact: Sarah Zeller, (309) 556-3181