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Jummy Olabanji's half marathon blog: Finding inspiration

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(WJLA) - Every October as I drive to and from the ABC7 studios in Rosslyn, I’m reminded of the annual Marine Corps Marathon. The signage is everywhere around Wilson Boulevard as the station is on the race course.

Every October I wonder to myself, “How do they do it?” 26.2 mile on foot? I don’t even like driving from my home in Northern Virginia to my friend’s house in Bowie, and that’s about 27 miles!

Don’t get me wrong, I like running as a form of cardiovascular exercise, but I’ve never been interested in running a distance that takes most people an hour to drive during rush hour. What is the big draw?

I had a realization recently. It’s time to stop asking myself “why?” and time to start asking “why not?” So, I’ve decided to register for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon scheduled for April 2014. Nike is only allowing 15,000 runners to participate in the race and I’ve decided I’m going to be one of them.

I know I won’t be the faster runner out there, but my goal is just to finish in the required 4-hour time limit. I’m pulling inspiration from several people.

First on that list is Good Morning Washington meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. As we’ve reported in the past several months, Jacqui decided to undergo a preventive double mastectomy in September. In the weeks since returning to work I’ve watched her slowly regain her strength and health.

Just a few short weeks as surgery, she was itching to get back on her bike and back to running. I want to finish the 13.1 for all the women out there battling cancer that can’t run.

Someone else that inspires me is Nathan Davis. He’s the 12-year-old Frederick County boy I interviewed this past May. Nathan, an avid runner, finished first place in the Cherry Blossom 5K - a race he finished in 17 minutes and 22 seconds. For the record, I run one mile in about 12 minutes, so you know this kid is amazing!

Rounding out my list is Joy Johnson, the 86-year-old California woman who died after running her 25th IMG New York City Marathon, Black Girls Run, a national movement to movement to fight obesity within the black community, and finally my mentor, Margie Ruttenberg. Margie gave me my first internship in the television field.

Margie has battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma twice now and she’s fought back every time. Margie is training for the race as well and I want to run in support of her. Furthermore, proceeds from the Nike Women’s Half benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I’m also looking to my ABC7 co-workers for motivation. So many of the great folks I work with are super runners and athletes. Yes, I’m talking to you Justin Karp (Social Media Manager), Alex Liggitt (Weather Producer), Jay Korff (Reporter), Brianne Carter, (Reporter) and Becca Sinn (Producer). Stay tuned to wjla.com as I blog monthly until the big day!

I would also love some tips from our AB7 viewers out there who’ve done a half-marathon before. Feel free to email me as I get ready for race day.

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