She goes by Julie, grandma or ‘Marathon Goddess’ ... and she’s running for a cure

She goes by Julie, grandma or ‘Marathon Goddess’ ... and she’s running for a cure

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every week is race week for Julie Weiss. The California grandmother has run 48 races in the last 48 weeks.

Monday’s Great Aloha Run will be race 49.

"I'm over 700 miles of every mile fighting for a cure," she said.

The cure she’s talking about is a cure for pancreatic cancer. Her runs raise money for the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, a non-profit that funds pancreatic cancer research.

Weiss has raised close to $640,000 from donations associated with her races.

She does it for her dad who inspired her to run. He passed away in 2010, just 35 days after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“Just 10 days after he passed away I qualified for the Boston Marathon, something that we had dreamed of doing, and he would be there to cheer me on. I know he was there,” she said.

Weiss, 49, dedicates each race to a victim or a survivor of pancreatic cancer.

“I get I guess they call it ‘chicken skin’ here in Hawaii when I run for other people because it’s so much more than myself. It’s for them,” she said.

In running circles, she’s known as the Marathon Goddess. In fact she trademarked the name. After her dad’s death she ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise dollars for cancer research.

She wrote a book about her experience called "52 Weeks, 52 Marathons: The Miles and Trials of a Marathon Goddess."

"What started out for my dad has evolved into a movement not just for my dad but for the entire pancreatic cancer community," she said.

The five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is now about 10%. Weiss said that’s a small victory.

"It's a marathon. It's not a sprint," she said. "We're making progress and we're finding new ways to extend people's lives and that's why the awareness and funds become so important."

And that’s why every race she runs is so important.

To learn more about the Hirshberg Foundation go to www.pancreatic.org.

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