Running community helps tornado survivor achieve race goal

By Alyssa Donovan

December 8, 2013 Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 4:27 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill.—Local runner will not let tornado keep her from achieving her goals.

The Earl family was at church when the tornado struck Washington.

When they came home and saw their house demolished, Jason Earl thought of his wife.

"I knew that Sarah had a race in Mattoon that Saturday and I knew she was going to run it. I though of that the day of the tornado to be honest with you,” Jason said.

That's because this was not just another race for Sarah Earl, it was part of a year long goal.

"I had established a goal for myself to run 13 half marathons in 2013,” Sarah said.

The Saturday after the tornado she was set to run race 12.

"When Sarah has a goal in mind she completes it no doubt about it," said Jason.

The Earl's lost everything, including Sarah's running gear.

"I knew the tornado wouldn't stop me from running race 12 but I did lose all of my running gear,” she said.

After hearing of Sarah's loss and her goal, the running community stepped forward. They donated shoes and winter gear to help her reach the finish line.

"I was outfitted from head to toe it was amazing,” she said.

Sarah says she hopes her kids learn something from this experience.

"They are going to remember this and all these people reaching out to help us and hopefully they will pay it forward,” she said.

Jason says he hopes the kids learn something from Sarah.

"Showing them that you can have a tornado wipe out your entire life basically and do this to you but when you have a goal in mind and it's important to you, you just go ahead and do it,” said Jason.

Sarah will be running her 13th half marathon on Sunday, completing her year long goal.

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