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DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — When Felicia Peterson found herself scheduling a marathon in San Francisco and another shortly after in Alaska to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, she and her husband decided they needed to do something a bit different than calling the same people again and asking them for support.

“So we came up with this 5K idea,” Peterson said. As part of the Team in Training program, which raises money for the society, participants also get support from their local communities and through their network of friends and family to enter the Team in Training events, which include marathons and triathlons.

Peterson admitted that after going back to the same people year after year for help, she and her husband decided to hold the first Lace ’em Up for Leukemia 5K in Marble Falls in 2011. She held one in 2012 but skipped 2013 due to a busy personal schedule.

However, the 5K is back Oct. 4 at Westside Park, 1610 Second St. in Marble Falls, starting at 9 a.m.

“It’s a great way for people to help out (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) because the proceeds go to it,” Peterson said. The money she raises allows her to participate in the Team in Training events but all of the funds flow into supporting leukemia and lymphoma research and treatment, a cause that is very close to her heart.

In 2005, her stepfather died from leukemia. But it wasn’t until a Team in Training postcard inviting her to an information session about the program landed in her mailbox that Peterson considered lacing up her running shoes.

“Oh, no, I wasn’t a runner before I started this,” she said. “I really didn’t think I could do it at all.”

At the initial meeting, Peterson liked the idea of helping raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research and treatment, but she told the coordinator she had reservations about all the running.

“So I asked the coordinator, ‘I can walk, right? I’m not a runner,'” Peterson said with a laugh. The coordinator agreed that Peterson could walk the marathons and half-marathons, something several of the Team in Training participants do. But the program also provides participants with support and coaching to get them up and running.

“Since 2009, I’ve ran in two full marathons and six half-marathons,” she said. Peterson said she does walk during some of the races, but she’s definitely running most of the distances. Along with helping the LLS, the program has changed Peterson’s life as well.

“I really wasn’t in very good shape when I started this,” she said. “But I’ve lost weight, and I’m a more healthy eater.”

Not everybody wants to run a marathon or half-marathon or complete a triathlon, but they still would like to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is where the Lace ’em Up for Leukemia 5K Fun Run comes in.

And the event isn’t just for human runners. Peterson realizes a lot of runners — and casual walkers for that matter — enjoy hitting the road and trails with their canine companions, so this 5K is a dog-friendly event.

“They do need to be on a leash,” she said. There’s even awards for the Top Dog, Cutest Dog and Best Dressed Dog.

Runners can also win awards for first, second and third place in the men’s and women’s divisions; ages 13-19; and 12 and under.

Registration is $35 for ages 13 and up and $15 for ages 5-12. To pre-register, go to www.active.com and then search for Marble Falls or Lace ’em Up for Leukemia. People can register the day of the event starting at 7 a.m.

Email Peterson at laceemupforleukemia@gmail.com for more information on the race or Team in Training.

daniel@thepicayune.com