Julie Weiss, of Santa Monica is also known as a Marathon Goddess. She is a marathon runner and national ambassador for Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Sunday, March 24 she will be kicking off her year long campaign, 52 Races for 52 Faces, at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. The campaign will take her coast to coast running competitively in marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, and 5Ks to help bring awareness to pancreatic cancer.

Weiss has ran in total 104 full marathons since March, 2008.  When Weiss was gaining a reputation as a Marathon Goddess, her father would attend every race to support her. “He was my biggest supporter,” she said. Unfortunately, two years after Weiss had begun her new lifestyle of running marathons with the hope of qualifying for the Boston marathon, her father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Weiss mentions he always encouraged her to continue running even through the difficult times.

Weiss had set goals to run the Boston Marathon and tried numerous times before qualifying in 2010. That year she ran the Boston Marathon in 3:47 with the devastation of losing her father to Pancreatic cancer. After the loss, Weiss did in depth research on the disease and wanted to combine her passion for running and bring awareness to pancreatic cancer, citing the love of her father as her motivation. From there Weiss set out to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks in 2012 and since then has kept competitively running in races raising awareness towards pancreatic cancer.

Weiss wrote a book called, 52 weeks, 52 marathons: the miles and trials of a marathon goddess, it is her story of people who have inspired her and who have beaten pancreatic cancer. The book aims to show all that there is a name and face behind every survivor, and she is running for them. The book is not only directed to people who have been affected with pancreatic cancer, but to also influence positivity in life with inspirational stories.  All proceeds from book sales are be donated to pancreatic cancer research.

With the “52 Races, 52 Faces” campaign, Weiss is dedicating each race to someone who is affected by the disease in hopes to raise a million dollars to help find a cure for pancreatic cancer. Currently Weiss has raised over $500,000 since being on this journey after her father’s passing.

Partnering with the Hirshberg Foundation, Weiss mentioned she will be sharing stories of “empowerment, loss, hope, and resilience from patients and families fighting for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.” On sunday Weiss will be dedicating her run to her late dear friend Lupe Delacruz-Romero, who has beat pancreatic cancer 4 times in seven years.  Weiss finished her 52nd marathon with Delacruz-Romero and wants to share her story of resilience with honor.

“Having a positive mindset helped Lupe beat the odds,” Weiss mentioned. The strength of each person Weiss races for is what motivates Weiss to keep running until there is a cure. Alex Trebek from the gaming show Jeopardy who recently announced his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer will also be a person Weiss will be running for on sunday.

Every race Weiss competes in has a purpose and every dollar donated goes directly to the Hirshberg foundation for Pancreatic cancer research.

On Sunday March 24, The Hirshberg Foundation Purple People Party Cheer Station will be located on the Los Angeles Marathon Route (between mile marker 21 and 22) 11620 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood 90049 (on the grassy median strip at Bringham Ave., east of Barrington). Everyone is encouraged to come cheer on the runners to help fight the good fight against Pancreatic cancer.

This story was published as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

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