Komen run celebrates survivors and remembers a promise

By Chad Weber

October 21, 2013 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Hundreds of runners took to the streets Sunday to celebrate survivors and remember a promise.

The inaugural Susan G. Komen Promise Run and Relay put participants in Susie's shoes to celebrate the birthplace of a nation-wide fight against breast cancer.

The memory of Susan G. Komen lives on in her hometown through breast cancer survivors and through a new race.

"This is where the promise started, "said Susan G. Komen Marketing and Development Director Gina Morss-Fischer. "This is where that grass roots movement began."

More than 400 runners participated in the inaugural Susan G. Komen Promise Run and Relay.

The 13.1 mile half marathon course sent runners across the Peoria and East Peoria area, eventually finding the finish line in front of the Peoria Civic Center.

Some ran in relays, some culminated their progressive half-marathon Sunday, but for breast cancer survivors, the challenge was nothing new.

"When they announced this, it just gave me an additional goal to keep pushing my body into the shape I had been in before,"said breast cancer survivor Anita Durham.

Durham was diagnosed with breast cancer just over one year ago. She finished radiation therapy last October.

As a life-long runner, Sunday's course was another step toward recovery.

"I think whenever you are a survivor, your goal is always to try and push back to be where you were before you were ever diagnosed," Durham said.

For others competing in the half marathon course, it was their first time at a Susan G. Komen event.

"What we've noticed is that many of the people who registered for the half marathon today are not previous "Race For the Cure" participants," Morss-Fischer said. "So we've reached a new group of people who are supporting the mission but perhaps they like a longer distance."

"This event is brilliant," said men's half marathon winner Sam Bradley. "The support out there was fantastic."

"It is amazing," said women's half marathon winner Angie Banister. "I have two girls I know that I ran it for today that battled breast cancer, so winning this and knowing that I ran for them is a great feeling."

Organizers hope to grow the event in the future, aiming to attract more professional runners to remember a promise that started in Peoria, and continues to run strong.

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