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Thanking the community for support

| July 3, 2007 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

First, I want to thank everyone for your support, letters, words of encouragment and donations. With your help I raised over $5,500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My Team in Training Chapter (Washington/Alaska) raised $550,000 and nationally Team in Training rasied $12.5 million with this race alone for research and patient assistance.

The Rock and Roll Marathon itself was the best and the worst thing I have ever done. I awoke at 3 a.m. nervous and excited, was on the bus by 4:30 a.m. and at 5 a.m. I was standing at the starting line. The gun went off at 6:30 a.m. and I was surprised to see the streets of San Diego filled with spectators cheering us on. Families living along the route handed out orange slices and let us run through their sprinklers.

My Team in Training race jersey read "For Dann" and the support for the TNT runners was enormous. There were 40 bands playing along the race (one of them playing "I Will Survive," which I found extremely motivating at the time), numerous local cheerleading squads, 20,000 runners total (a few of them dressed as Elvis) and 70,000 fans.

I felt great on miles 1 through 20 smiling and running strong, then, mentally and physically it became very hard. I have a whole new respect for the marathon. One of my coaches used a very good analogy, at mile 22 it was like "the wheels fell off the bus." I battled calf cramps, nausea and quite a bit of negative thinking. But, I said to myself, "I amfinishing this thing if I have to walk the last three miles."

After an unattractive walk/run/hobble/shuffle combination I made it across the finish line, 4 hours and 17 minutes after the start, tears streaming down my face from mental and physical exhaustion. I did not smile for the camer at the finish line because I was completely oblivious to everything. But I later felt an enormous sense of pride and after all, this race was not about me.

I want to say a special thank you to my grandmother Faye Schoknecht, I couldn't have raised the money without her help. I also want to thank my boyfriend Cam for traveling to San Diego with me, being my "pit crew," cheering section, personal photographer and for restoring my sanity at the finish line. I also have to thank my dad, Dann, who has battled Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and endured chemotherapy for the last six months and I am happy to report he was feeling well enough to teach the last month of school (and play lots of golf). Go Dad!

Thanks to the Libby School District, Cabinet View Country Club Ladies Golf Association, Advantage Seal and Stripe, Semitool Inc., St. John's Lutheran Church and all the individual donors.

Stacia Rohrer

Seattle (Libby native)