october 18, 2014
For most, running a marathon is a pastime or a personal goal they hope to reach. But for a select few, running a 26.2-mile course is a way to also bring attention to great causes or a way to do the unexpected. Brian Cole will be looking to do both.
With the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds, Cole will continue a grueling schedule of running eight marathon events in eight weeks in an effort to help raise money for the local Kansas City chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It’s a cause that is important to Cole because his wife, Karen, has Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), a disease she’s lived with since the age of two.
“My first marathon was the Kansas City Marathon in 2005 – the first year the Kansas City Marathon returned,” said Cole. “I have tried a lot of exercise programs to get healthy, but running has always been the one I enjoyed the most. I wanted to run the marathon to prove to myself that I could do it. I wanted to do something I had never done before and Kansas City seemed like the right place to start it all.”
The Kansas City Marathon is Cole’s third stop on his journey to eight marathons, which include: Mo Cowbell Marathon, Prairie Fire Marathon, IMT Des Moines Marathon, Blue Springs 26.2, ING New York City Marathon, Pilgrim Pacer and the Route 66 Marathon.
Since his start in 2005, Cole has run in 29 half marathons – five of which were the Kansas City Half Marathon and five were the Hospital Hill Half Marathon.
“The reason I chose most of these marathons is because of proximity to where I live,” said Cole, a native of Tulsa, Okla. “Kansas City has a special place in my running career because it was my first marathon.”
Cole’s initial marathon journey started back in 2005, but the will to prepare for eight marathons in eight weeks began back in 2012, when Cole prepared for the New York Marathon.
“After we worked all summer to get ready for that run I decided to keep running throughout the winter so that I could be ready for the 2013 spring running season faster instead of building up to the fitness level again after the long winter,” said Cole. “As the spring and summer came around and I decided to take on this tremendous challenge to raise money for the JDRF, I had to begin to train my body to run long distances on a consistent basis.”
Although Cole has a long road of marathons ahead of him, he says he’s looking forward to all eight of them because they each pose their own challenges and have special meanings to him.
“The Kansas City Marathon is special to me because my first marathon was in Kansas City in 2005 and that weekend I travel to Des Moines right after I finish in KC to run the IMT Des Moines marathon on Sunday,” said Cole. “The New York Marathon probably stands out as a favorite because I have waited five years to run the marathon and our attempt to run last year was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I will be running New York with my wife and I can’t wait to cross the finish line with her. Tulsa is also special to me because that is where I grew up and it will be the final marathon in the series.”
During Cole’s training, he has been averaging between 50-58 miles per week. He believes that eating properly and staying hydrated is critical to his success.
For Cole, running eight marathons in eight weeks means that he gets to take something he loves doing – running, and use it as a way to bring awareness to a cause and a disease that affects his family. Running the eight marathons is a way for him to give back to JDRF and find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes so that maybe, just maybe, his wife can be cured of this disease.
Through running, Cole is able to give back to something bigger than him. His first test came September 22, where he planned and directed a 5K called the Panera Bread Diabetes Dash for Life 5K, where he raised over $18,000 for JDRF through sponsorships and race registrations with over 800 runners in its first year. Running not only supplies Cole with a way to give back to the community, but it serves as a positive force in his life – keeping him sane, and most important, happy.
“Some of my best ideas come to me when I am running,” said Cole. “Running is my alone time where I get to be with myself and just let my mind go where it needs to go. Running has given me a way to share my love of running with others by coaching them on how to become a runner and thus lead a healthy lifestyle.”
“I love watching friends and family develop into a runner. It’s so inspiring to me to watch someone you care about cross the finish line of any race. It doesn’t matter if they are walking or running—they finished the race.”
Cole’s persistence for finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes is clear, but his ability to run eight marathons in eight weeks wouldn’t be possible without the love and support from his wife and children.
“I remember the evening I told my wife this crazy idea I had to run eight marathons in eight weeks – he was excited about it,” said Cole. “She will be running some of the marathons with me, which is amazing. I couldn’t do what I am doing if my family wasn’t behind me all the way.”
It doesn’t take a superhero or someone of high status to accomplish what Cole has through his awareness of JDRF. Running eight marathons in eight weeks presents its fair challenges, but with a passion to help his wife fight off her disease, anything is possible.
“My advice to those that think they can’t run a marathon is simply to say you can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it,” said Cole. “My wife is the perfect example. She is a diabetic and she doesn’t love running. The struggles she had to go through during her training were tremendous. She’s fought through all of the obstacles of being a diabetic and she is determined more than ever to run New York in 2013. So, if my wife can do it, you can do it, too.”
By LaRenn DiPede