Imagine No Malaria Big Winner in Pittsburgh Marathon
By Jackie Campbell
The Todd family takes a break after the race. Shown, from left, are Ben, who ran a relay leg; Bob, who did the full marathon; Jill and Emily, who ran the half-marathon.
May 6 was good day for a marathon in Pittsburgh and a great day for Imagine No Malaria! Forty-two participants ran for a reason in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, raising nearly $15,000 to help end deaths from malaria. Six finished the full marathon; 16 did the half-marathon and 20 were part of relay teams.
“It was awesome to see so many people come together for the marathon,” said Dr. Bob Todd of Christ Community UMC in Butler, who organized the INM effort. “Everyone finished their events and no one got sick or injured." Todd was one of the six who completed the full marathon; his wife Jill and daughter Emily did the half and their son Ben was on a relay team.
“It was by far the toughest marathon for me of the six that I've done. The heat really slowed me down,” said Todd. “But it was a beautiful day and I couldn't be happier about how everything turned out."
He offered “a huge thank you to our volunteers! I think running may have been the easier job. We had 17 people working the South Side fluid station and five more working at our charity village tent. Two others, Jon Hiser and Kevin Loomis, served as INm photographers and Todd said they probably walked a half-marathon to get photos.
Just after the race, the fundraising total was approaching $15,000, which Todd said was awesome. To capitalize on their achievements, he encouraged the participants to continue to raise money by wearing their Imagine No Malaria shirts to work or church. Completing the events is a big accomplishment, he told them, so it was OK to brag a little – and ask for a donation.
The top fundraisers on INM’s Active.com page were Steve Troisi with $2,045 and the Rev. Eric Raygor, pastor of Grace UMC in Somerset, with $1,655.
Christ Community Church had a celebration of the efforts of the INM runners during the worship services the Sunday following the marathon. The Rev. Jeff St. Clair led one of the INM relay teams.
Todd is already looking forward to next year. “We have met all of the criteria of the marathon, so we will be invited back next year as a charity program again,” he said, adding that he’s willing to organize the effort again.
Imagine No Malaria is a global health ministry of The United Methodist Church which, in partnership with other groups such as the UN Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer, seeks to end deaths from malaria by 2015. Progress has been made. When INM began a child under 5 died of malaria every 30 seconds. That rate has been cut in half. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton leads the Global Health Initiative.