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Runners prep for Marine marathon

A 6:30 Sunday morning 10-mile training session is only thebeginning of an intense routine that will lead Bruce Groth, Paul”Sha” Walker and Mark Leblanc to the Marine Corps Marathon inWashington D.C.

They have been training for two weeks and will not slow theirefforts until the Oct. 29 race that will encompass 26.2 miles ofhistoric Washington D.C.

The race, also called The Marathon of the Monuments, will beginin Arlington, Va. and will wind through various portions of theDistrict of Columbia, passing the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial,Korean War and Vietnam Veterans memorials, Washington Monument andthe U.S. Capitol. The marathon will end at the Marine Corps WarMemorial, which depicts the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima duringWorld War II.

The race will be a physical and mental challenge – both beforeand during the race – for the three men competing.

“Now the hard part is getting up at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday andmaking yourself run 10 miles, and it’s only going to get harder,”Leblanc said.

Leblanc began running 3.5 miles and said he tries to increasehis distance 10 percent each week.

Leblanc, Groth and Walker have been using a training programdeveloped by Hal Higdon for marathon runners.

“It’s not too rigorous that you get tired of running,” Grothsaid.

Leblanc agreed.

“It’s for people who run and also work,” Leblanc added.

Walker will be required to raise $1,000 for a charity of hischoice . After much research and consideration, Walker chose St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the charity he will berepresenting.

“They (Groth and Leblanc) entered the race before it was filledup,” Walker said. “After a certain point, to run the race you haveto align with a charity.”

Walker’s research on the charity and the birth of his new babybrought the work and research of St. Jude into perspective.

“I got into it frankly because I had to, but after I learnedabout St. Jude, I realized how much it impacts people’s lives,” hesaid. “The blessing of a new healthy baby makes me want to helpthose who are less fortunate.”

Walker’s personal fundraising site can be found atwww.stjudeheroes.org, click Sponsor a Hero, scroll down to MarineCorps Marathon Heroes and search Paul Walker. Walker is currentlyat $400 or his $1,000 goal.