With a background in cross-country, Cameron Lee isn’t too worried about doubling the longest run of his life.
His Brownstown Central High School classmate, Luke Cobb, however, doesn’t have too much running experience.
But Feb. 6, the juniors will be running 26.2 miles in the Hayes Arboretum Trail Marathon in Richmond.
In November, when they were assigned a Google 20 Time project in Melanie Preston’s Advanced Placement language arts class, the first thing that popped in their mind was to run a marathon.
For each project, the students have to accomplish something they have always wanted to do, and it has to benefit others. Lee and Cobb are raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The most miles Lee has run at once is 13 miles, while Cobb has run about 5 miles at one time. But both of them said they feel confident in their training to be able to complete their first marathon.
“It has been nice knowing that someone else is going through my pain with all of this running. There’s a lot of pain,” Lee said, smiling.
“It’s definitely nice to know that someone that has run this amount and they know that if I’m struggling that they can give me the motivation of what helped them through it already,” Cobb said.
When Lee and Cobb said they were going to run a marathon, family and friends initially were unsure about it. Cobb said that especially was true for him since he didn’t have a cross-country background, but he currently plays tennis in the fall and had played football and basketball in the past.
“They didn’t believe us, really, like, ‘You’re funny,’” Lee said. “Then we started showing them that we were actually serious about this, and they thought it was really cool that we were doing this.”
The first step for Lee and Cobb was to register for the trail marathon, which they chose to do since it fit with the schedule of their project.
They then set up a GoFundMe account online to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and spread the word by emailing the link to students and teachers.
“We really wanted to run a marathon, and we figured we might as well help other people, too, because Alzheimer’s, we both had friends and family affected by it, so we just wanted to help other people with it,” Lee said.
“We sit together at the same table (in class), so we were sort of brainstorming, and we both came through about the same time that it would be cool to run a marathon,” Cobb said. “Then the rest just fell into place afterwards.”
The next step was to begin training. That has consisted of running every day, going on different terrain and varying the distance.
“Cross-country helped,” Lee said of having running experience. “We do a long run every other week and add on a couple miles to it. We did 20 this past weekend.”
Balancing running every day with other activities and responsibilities has been stressful for both of them.
“It has definitely been challenging juggling all of the tougher school classes with the time to run and keep yourself in shape,” Cobb said.
“But running is just fun. It clears your mind. There’s nothing really to it,” Lee said.
The long runs every other week have helped them physically and mentally prepare for running 26.2 miles.
“It builds you up,” Lee said. “It builds your muscles, and you just kind of get used to the pain.”
Cobb said he likes the occasional long runs.
“It helps you build, and you know that you are progressing toward your final goal,” he said. “It just helps get you mentally there because you start to believe you can do it. At first, you look at it as, ‘That’s a long distance.’ You don’t know if you can do it at first. But with the long runs, it helps.”
As race day approaches, Lee and Cobb are looking forward to celebrating the accomplishment of completing a marathon. They agree it makes them feel good knowing they are helping themselves while also helping others by raising money to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Lee said his great-grandmother died from Alzheimer’s, while Cobb said friends of his grandmother and other people he knows have the disease.
“It’s a really hard disease to have,” Lee said. “Seeing your family members go through it, they are struggling to eat by themselves and all of that. We want to help them with that.”
Through research, Cobb said he learned Alzheimer’s is one of the top 10 incurable diseases in the United States.
“The closer we get to finding a cure, the less they will suffer from that,” Cobb said.
So far, they have raised $550. They hope to reach their goal of $1,000. The deadline to donate at gofundme.com/v2c7hzzg is Feb. 10.
“We’re happy either way because we’re raising money,” Lee said. “Hopefully, this will help some.”
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Brownstown Central High School juniors Cameron Lee and Luke Cobb are running in the Hayes Arboretum Trail Marathon on Feb. 6 in Richmond. It’s part of a Google 20 Time school project in which they are raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
To donate to their project, visit gofundme.com/v2c7hzzg. The deadline to donate is Feb. 10.