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February 6, 2002
Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners to pound 26.2 miles of pavement while striving to reach a $3 million goal for cancer research

BOSTON — Boston Marathon runners feel a sense of accomplishment as they conquer the grueling "Heartbreak Hill" section of the historic 26.2-mile route. For more than 350 Boston Marathon runners this sense of accomplishment comes in a different form — completing a marathon while raising money to help cancer patients worldwide.

This special team of runners, hailing from 20 states, is the core of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC). The DFMC team will run in the 106th Boston Marathon on April 15, with a goal of raising 3 million for cancer research.

By raising a minimum of $2,000 each to participate, DFMC runners fund the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a world-renowned leader in cancer research and treatment.

"Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners are a unique group of individuals," says DFMC director Jan Ross. "You know you have a winning combination when someone is athletic, passionate, and strives to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients."

In 1990, Dana-Farber was among the first charity organizations to be given official marathon numbers by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). This year, 15 charities benefit from the BAA's charity program.

In the months leading up to race day, the DFMC team receives one of the best training and support programs available. Coached by 1976 Boston Marathon winner Jack Fultz, DFMC runners attend group runs and training sessions, as well as social events and informational meetings. They are also treated to a pre-marathon pasta party and pep rally, indoor facilities at the starting area in Hopkinton, and a post-race celebration.

Over the past 12 years, DFMC runners have raised more than $13 million to support the innovative research of more than 60 scientists. The Barr Program was established in 1987 by Dana-Farber trustees Delores and J. Wayne Weaver, in memory of her mother who passed away from cancer in 1957. Since the program's inception, Barr Investigators have been designated to conduct important studies that hold the promise of achieving major advances in understanding, overcoming and eventually eliminating cancer. Each year the Weavers issue a significant challenge grant that provides additional inspiration to the runners as they strive to reach the team's goal.

Since the inception of the DFMC, the Boston Athletic Association has given a limited quantity of its coveted race entries to Dana-Farber each year. Potential Marathon Challenge runners apply for the team many months before the race is held. DFMC runners include cancer survivors and patients, and family and friends of those who have been affected by cancer.

To contribute to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, send checks payable to "Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge" to:

152A Trapelo Road
Lincoln, MA 01773.