Marathoner, pancreatic cancer research advocate and motivational speaker Julie Weiss has devoted her life to running marathons for those who can't. Known as The Marathon Goddess, Weiss has run 52 marathons in 52 weeks in memory of her father. Her ongoing goal is to raise 1 million dollars for pancreatic cancer research, spreading a message of hope.
I am Julie Weiss, and I'm so excited to be a part of the BCBGMAXAZRIA Contributor Program and their mission to inspire women to be inspirational.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what it is that you do. My name is Julie Weiss, and I run marathons to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. I lost my father to the disease just 35 days after his diagnoses. After he passed away, I wanted to raise awareness and raise funds in honor of my father and the many people affected by this disease.
Tell us a little bit about what set you on this path and how you did it. After my father passed away from pancreatic cancer, I knew I had to do something big to honor him, so I decided to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. I know it sounds crazy, but crazy is good. I really didn't know how well I was going to do because I had a full time job and I'm a single parent, but I knew I was going to do it somehow. I also wanted to find a way to raise hope, awareness, as well as inspire people to do other great things. In March of 2012, I set off on my very first marathon. As soon as I finished, I was one down and 51 more to go.
What gets you through the tough times during a marathon? When I'm running a marathon and it gets really tough, I think about the people I am running for. I think about my father. I think about their journey and what they have to go through with this terrible cancer. Somehow it gives me energy because I'm doing something that's bigger than myself. It's not about me. It's not about the marathons. It's about the people that I'm running for. I always say that miracles can happen when you do something that you love with passion, purpose and for someone that you love. You can do unbelievable things. Anything is possible.
What happened after you reached your goal? After I finished the 52 marathons in 52 weeks, I actually went on to finish 100 marathons. My new goal is to continue to raise money, hope and awareness for this disease. Right now, I'm actually writing a book titled, "We Got This." I want to share my journey with the world. I want to share what I've been through and how we all can help other people. It's just really amazing what you can do when you are inspired by a purpose greater than yourself.
- "It's not about me. It's not about the marathons. It's about the people that I'm running for."
I want to share that story. I also want to say that everybody can do something. Everybody can do something good to help society and to help make the world a better place. So I'm very grateful that I can continue to do that even after running all these marathons. I love to run marathons, maybe one or two a year. Maybe not 52 again, but you never know. Anything is possible.
What are you most proud of? Looking back on this journey of 52 marathons in 52 weeks, I am so proud of the hope, the awareness and the love that we raised, not only with the pancreatic community, but with the world. I didn't really know how many people I was going to inspire. I set out to honor my father, and I ended up embracing the entire community. I'm very, very proud of that. I never expected to meet all these wonderful friends and sadly lose some of them because of this devastating disease. It has become my mission in life to keep raising hope and keep raising awareness to show people that anything is possible. You can really do whatever it is you put your mind to. I'm very proud of that, and I'm very proud of this message of hope that we were able to share with the world.
What advice do you have for people who want to run a marathon for the first time? You know a lot of people ask, "How do I get started?" or "How do I do something great?" It's really hard sometimes. People want to run a marathon, and it just seems so overwhelming. I just want to say to take that first step: one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, just keep going. But the most important thing is to find a purpose. Ask yourself, "What is it that you love to do?" It doesn't have to be running. It could be cooking. It could be dancing. Take your passion and let it shine. Share it with the world because that's your gift. I believe that we all have a gift that we were given. I didn't find mine until I was 37. Don't worry because it will find you. Just keep your heart open and stay positive. If things don't always go your way, just remember to stay positive and keep moving forward. You will get there one step at a time.
What is your favorite quote?
I have so many favorite quotes. But I'd have to say the one that rang true to me would be by CS Lewis, which is, "You're never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream." I was never an athlete in school, and at 37 years old I started running. I ran my first marathon when I was 38, and now here I am today. We've raised nearly 400 thousand dollars for the fight against pancreatic cancer. So that quote to me is very special because at any age you can really do something good: good for society, good for yourself and good for the world.
For more information on Julie Weiss, please visit http://www.marathongoddess.com and stay connected with Julie @MarathonGoddess on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram
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