Mark Struble says he has a common goal with fellow runners.
“They all want to be able to say three words,” he said. “I finished Boston.
“That’s what I want to be able to say. And I want to say I did it, while at the same time, raising a significant amount of money for Alzheimer’s research.”
As part of a 20-person team, Struble is trying to raise $200,000 for Alzheimer’s research and assistance to families dealing with the disease.
“We have done really well, but we are still about $70,000 short of our goal,” Struble said. “I am 68 percent of the way to my personal goal of raising $15,000.”
Struble, 58, said he started running just out of college as a ranger for the National Parks Service.
“They were really adamant about rangers keeping super fit,” he said. “But even then, the most I would run was 10 miles.”
Then life and family and his career, which led him to be the public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management, got in the way, and his fitness lagged.
That changed when he had to have a stint placed in a coronary artery in his late 40s.
“That was a wake-up call,” he said. “That’s when I started making it a priority to be physically active.”
While he mostly rode his mountain bike, when his daughter and her fiancé committed to running a marathon in 2012, he shifted his focus to running.
“I thought, ‘Good night, if Julie can do it, I can get into it — even at my age,’” he said.
He ran his first half-marathon in 2012 and his first marathon — 26.2 miles — in 2013.
The Boston Marathon on April 20, will be his fourth marathon in the 16 months since his first.
“It’s an awful lot of fun,” he said. “I really enjoy it. There’s something very soothing mentally and physically about going out and running.”
Struble decided to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association because of his family’s history with the disease. His grandmother suffered from it before her death, and his mother suffers from it now as does his father-in-law.
“It robs you of your memories and your ability to take care of yourself,” he said. “It’s scary. No one survives Alzheimer’s.”
He said he would like to see a way, if not to cure the disease, to at least slow it down.
His goal is to raise $15,000 by the race. He’s raised just more than $10,000.
To donate, go to tinyurl.com/pwpwrfq.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 220-5333.