Running for a cause

Darrell Cole
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Amherst women taking fight against diabetes to New York City Marathon

AMHERST - Denise Brownell and Pauline Furlong are going for a run in early November. Not just any run but the ultimate distance event when they compete in the ING New York City Marathon.

In doing so, the Amherst women hope to raise more than $10,000 for the Canadian Diabetic Association as members of the 13-person Team Diabetes.

"The idea at first was to run in a marathon. I brought it up in passing one night to Pauline and she seemed very interested," Brownell said. "We took some time to think about it and then we decided to do it."

Since then, the duo have been working through a program developed by the Running Room in Moncton. Along with daily workouts and a running program, they have also been holding fundraising events and collecting pledges.

The 42-km marathon goes through New York's five boroughs and it's expected 40,000 runners will participate while three million line the route and another 315 million will watch it on television.

"We really wanted to make sure we were ready for this so we took some time to look for reasons why we shouldn't do this and we couldn't come up with any," Furlong said. "We had considered a number of marathons, but decided on New York for its history and location. After so much training, we're definitely looking forward to the race and, ultimately, crossing the finish line."

The pair have held a pair of fundraisers already including a driving competition at the Amherst Golf Club and a dinner party while on Oct. 24 they will be hosting a harvest luncheon at the Christ Church Parish Hall featuring carrot ginger soup and a bread basket along with apple spice cake and tea and coffee.

They will also be selling a number of pieces of unique giftware.

People can also make a pledge online at the Canadian Diabetic Association's website,, and look for the link that says to pledge a Team Diabetes Canada participant.

More than two million Canadians have diabetes and Cumberland County has among the highest incidence of diabetes on per capita basis in Nova Scotia. As a pharmacist, Brownell assists diabetics every day and she wanted to do something to help raise money and create awareness of diabetes.

"I see diabetes everyday at my work. It affects a lot of people and it's something that to a certain degree can be prevented by diet and exercise," Brownell said. "I want to inspire some young person to exercise and eat healthy."

Both said they are running for their young daughters in hopes of inspiring them to life active, healthy lifestyles.

"I know people who have diabetes and know what kind of toll it can take on lifetyles, but it's also important to do something proactive. Our daughters are a good reason to run because we have to get the message out to their generation," Furlong said.

While they considered several marathons before selecting New York they are happy with the choice because it's among the most famous. More than a marathon, Brownell said, it's an event.

As they get closer to their Oct. 31 departure date their excitement level grows.

"There are a lot of feelings. Some days I think I'm crazy doing this and other days I feel I can do this," Brownell said.

Organizations: Canadian Diabetic Association, Amherst Golf Club, Christ Church Parish Hall

Geographic location: New York City, Moncton, Cumberland County Nova Scotia

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