Running for a cause

October 8, 2018

Distance running is a tie that binds the Carr family. From dad Tom and mom Mary, to daughters Mary Catharine (Skinner) and Sarah (Bruder), to sons Zachary and Luke, they’ve logged more miles than an old car.

“We are a family of runners and sports enthusiasts,” said Mary, who was born and raised in Michigan City. “All four kids ran high school cross country and track. Tom was a long-distance runner before I was, then I got into it as well.”

A few years back, when Mary embarked on her first marathon endeavor, she decided that if she was going to make the 26.2-mile investment, she might as well make it about more than just putting one foot in front of the other over and over again.

“I figured if I was putting all these miles on my legs, I might as well do it for somebody,” she said.

Sunday, mom and the girls laced up their shoes, donned their purple Team in Training (TNT) race shirts and trekked their way through the Windy City in the Chicago Marathon. As TNT members, they had to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Each committed to raising $1,000, all three surpassing their goal.

“We feel that by participating and raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, we can help more families that face the trials of a loved one having a blood cancer,” Mary said.

The cause is personal to the Carrs. Tom, a Marquette graduate like Mary, was diagnosed approximately four years ago with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and is currently in remission.

“Running with the girls all together, having the support of our family and friends who donated, it’s just phenomenal,” Mary said. “The marathon is just a phenomenal amount of people, elite runners. It’s great to be surrounded with all that.”

As the Carrs go, Sarah, who lives in Colorado, has far and away run the most marathons with about 15. Sunday’s was Mary’s third -- she did the Sunburst in South Bend in 2013 and Chicago in ’14, running for Ronald McDonald Charities -- and it was Mary Catharine’s debut at the distance. Sarah, also a Marquette grad, did the Louisville Ironman a year ago, also competing for TNT, which served as an impetus for the three of them to take on Chicago together.

“It’s exciting with it being her first,” Mary said Saturday as they rested up at Mary Catharine’s Dyer home. “It’s great to have her with us. Sarah is on her own training. She can pick up 20 miles at the drop of a hat. She’s very accomplished. Mary Catherine and I both did virtual training. We did our longer training runs together.”

While the race has been completed, contributions can still be made. The family’s page can be found at: https://pages.teamintraining.org/il/chicago18/Team950.

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