Michael Denmark accomplished something on his bucket list and he did it for an excellent cause. Denmark completed the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday November 3, 2013 and raised $30,156 for JDRF.
Michael ran for his cousin Mark, who was diagnosed with T1D almost 20 years ago. The two are like brothers, growing up in the same town together only three years apart. Their families have both been active in JDRF to raise awareness of T1D and the necessary funds to support critical research and find a cure. Michael’s connection to JDRF goes back to Carol and Erwin Lurie, founders of JDRF in 1970 and good friends of his grandparents. He feels a responsibility towards fulfilling their vision and objectives since their passing.
Michael and Mark previously held leadership positions at the Young Leadership Committee (YLC) for the New York chapter of JDRF where they helped organize annual events, improve membership, and raise funds. Even after stepping down they still wanted to participate in smaller annual events and help raise funds. Since 2011, Michael has had the idea to run the marathon for Mark but it didn’t work out until this past May when JDRF offered him the spot to join Team JDRF for the 2013 Marathon.
JDRF assigned Team JDRF members to a private running coach for training, advice, and tips. Team JDRF was comprised of over 60 members located all over the country and their stories further inspired Michael to train hard and raise funds. One of his favorite parts about JDRF is meeting other individuals and families who are affected by T1D and relating to each other’s experiences as a support system. Not only was Michael focusing on training safely to complete the marathon, he was also working to raise as much money as possible for the cause.
As a sprinter growing up, Michael was pushing himself to do something he didn’t believe he was built for mentally or physically. The tremendous amount of time, effort, and dedication required through race day were all worth it for the support and encouragement he received to push towards his goals. While it’s been three weeks since the race and Michael is still digesting the experience, it is something he will never forget and he will definitely considering running it again next year.
Mark and Michael will consult with one another and determine what they would like to do for 2014 that can be just as much fun and be just as effective to benefit the JDRF.