The Toughest Challenge You'll Love

Dedicated to the Team in Training (TNT) program.

During the Fall of 1999, I joined the program sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (formerly known as Leukemia Society of America) which helped me train for my first marathon. After over 6 months of training, I completed my first marathon in Alaska on June 17, 2000. The best thing about doing this with TNT is that you earn both a trophy to hold in your hands (a medal, photos, shirt, and time certificate) and a trophy to hold in your heart and memories (you raise money to help fight Leukemia). For me it's that trophy of the heart and memories that I treasure the most. I'm proud of myself and am amazed at how many people said they were so proud of me. This is what TNT ultimately delivers and it is priceless.

  The Miracle is not that I finished, but that I had the Courage to Begin.

A marathon is one of those things you think about doing once in your lifetime. The biggest appeal of this is that you have a organization of people standing behind you. If you want to get a boost on your self esteem and energy then the TNT program is a way of doing it and not doing it alone-- and I stress the NOT ALONE part. Being part of a group of other people just like yourself, with the same fears and concerns, is such a powerful thing.

You must be committed and be willing to dedicate a lot of time to your training. In the beginning the training is fairly easy to keep. However as you improve your endurance, your workouts get longer. A marathon is over 26 miles long. Eventually your workouts must include running up to 20 miles. A 20 mile run will take several hours of non-stop running just for a single workout! If you walk 20 miles then plan on an 8 hour non-stop workout! All your prior workouts at the gym, on a treadmill or in front of the TV will pale in comparison.

But to be sure, for many, the biggest challenge will be the money. If all you had to do was to simply promote the Leukemia Society by wearing their clothing and agreeing to run a marathon, then this would be so much easier! The fact of the matter is that you must gather the courage to raise between $1500 to $4500 per marathon event. The Anchorage Alaska marathon is definitely the most adventurous and scenic and it accordingly commands the highest fund raising goal of $4500 from the state of Delaware (the actual amount varies in different states). If you succeed in raising $4500 then it's a free trip to Alaska. However, if you fall short you must make up the difference! It requires great courage to do this.

This is PRECISELY the value of this program. IT WILL DEVELOP YOUR COURAGE and it will develop your self confidence and self esteem. Initially you may question your abilities to succeed and hessitate to sign on. To start you must sign a contract and make a $75 non-refundable deposit. However, once you gather the courage to sign, the picture changes. After signing and leaving a deposit, now you feel a sense of obligation and will find yourself hessitating to quit. The very act of signing a contract is a powerful thing that gives you courage. Furthermore, there will be many others who are in the same boat, and so you will not be alone. This will also give you courage.