Local women raise money for leukemia/lymphoma research

Norm Hamilton Special to the News Two Whitehorse women will be in the throng at the start of the Nike Women's Marathon on October 16 in San Francisco. Lori Mountain and Heather Jordan are training to run a half-marathon at this event.

Two Whitehorse women will be in the throng at the start of the Nike Women’s Marathon on October 16 in San Francisco.

Lori Mountain and Heather Jordan are training to run a half-marathon at this event.

“Twenty thousand participants run this race,” said Lori Mountain

“You actually have to be drawn, like in a lottery or something, to get into the marathon,” added Heather Jordan.

The registration process goes on for months.

Mountain, 41, with five children aged eight to 23 and Jordan, 42, with two teenaged daughters, are co-workers at Tucker and Associates.

Their morphing into marathoners began with a challenge from their employer to run 118 miles on the office treadmill in three months.

“He wants us to be fit,” said Mountain of their employer, who joins them on their runs.

Jordan had been working with trainer Jake Jirousek for the previous year and a half.

“He helped me lose my weight to the point where my body was able to do something like this,” she said. “I have a love/hate relationship with him.”

Jordan read about Team in Training, an organization that offers help in getting ready for the marathon and other events for fundraising, and decided she’d like to join.

“Then she told me about it and I said, ‘I want to do it too,’” said Mountain.

Neither had any experience with marathons, so thought they could use the help.

“I couldn’t just venture off on my own because I’m not like that, so I thought, ‘I’ll join up with these guys, they’ll take me there and look after me and bring me home,’” said Jordan.

Both the Nike Women’s Marathon and Team in Training raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societies in their respective countries.

Mountain and Jordan had to raise a minimum of $3,200 each to be eligible for the race; both have reached that mark and are now aiming to raise $6,000.

Jordan initially joined Team in Training because it provides coaching, nutrition information and assistance.

“Then I realized, ‘Oh, you raise money for cancer to kind of earn your way there,’ so it’s kind of win-win,” she said. “They’re helping me do something and … the tables kind of flipped. It actually became more about the fundraising than the training.”

Mountain initially got involved for personal reasons as well.

“The thing is, I want to start getting fit and healthy again because I’ve gained a lot of weight over the years,” she said. “But mainly I just want to do something for myself.”

Her focus has changed to the fundraising as well.

Mountain and Jordan have had bottle drives and barbeques during their fundraising.

They also sell Bondi Bands (no-slip, no-drip headbands) as well as household products through a catalogue that gives 30 per cent to the cause.

The community was very generous, they said.

Businesses have also been helpful. G-P Distributing and Superstore provided food for the barbecues with Canadian Tire providing space for them.

They were concerned about how online training would work, but are impressed with the support they’ve received.

Their preparation started in April with the “couch to 5 K” program, then switched to Team in Training in May.

They receive a schedule that sets out the training for the week and are assisted by coaches from Ontario who can be emailed at any time of the day or night with questions and concerns

Conference calls are available that include tips on fundraising, nutrition, endurance training, injury prevention and more.

“You pretty much don’t have to think,” Jordan said. “They give you this contact, Cheryl Pollack, who is amazing; they’re quick to answer and offer any assistance. They’re really a great organization. You just have to run.”

Their regime comprises four runs per week, including a steady run (comfortable pace), tempo run (out of comfort zone), hill run, and an LSD run (Long Slow Distance).

Mountain suffered an injury and has slowed her training to allow it to heal.

“That’s the one thing the trainers have told us,” she said. “You have to listen to your body. If it hurts, then stop because you risk injuring to a point that you may not be able to do anything for a long time.”

“It’s just about trying to get fit and cross the finish line.”

“If we finish, and we’re still upright, we don’t just get a medal, firemen dressed in tuxedoes present you with a Tiffany necklace,” said Jordan.

“And, we get chocolate at the last station,” they chimed in together.

Both women have had coworkers over the years who have been affected by cancer, bringing it closer to home.

Jordan was given an honoree T-shirt she’s sending to her uncle who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“I told him he has to wear it on that day so he can run with me,” Jordan said.

Donations can be made on their personal fundraising pages as well as through a Facebook page.

“Facebook reaches out more than you could ever do on your own,” said Mountain.

You can see Heather Jordan’s page at www.tinyurl/com/runhez

Lori Mountain is found at www.tunyurl.com/lmountain

Their Facebook page is www.tinyurl.com/tnt-yukon .

Norm Hamilton is a freelance writer and photographer based in Whitehorse.