Reason to run

Runners set goals -- and don't look back. They strive to cut those extra few minutes from their times. They have to go a quarter-mile farther each time, then a half-mile, then a mile. And beyond. They push their bodies. They want to push themselves. And for many runners in the Baltimore Running Festival, the goals are even loftier. Among the 27,000 runners in Saturday's festival, pounding the pavement in the marathon, half-marathon, relay and 5K, are many running for reasons other than the thrill of crossing a line that perhaps once was thought to be unattainable. We asked five of this year's runners, who have much more than a 26.2 sticker on their minds, to share their stories. There's a breast cancer survivor, running with a relay team whose members were strangers before they shared the same diagnosis. There's a runner who's out there to recognize family members who lost legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. There's a 28-year-old who's running for his mother, who died from complications from melanoma. He was 10 at the time. They already have met adversity head-on. On Saturday, they'll meet their goals -- and perhaps inspire others to set a few of their own. Read on for snippets from their stories and links to each runner's full personal essay. From left, Nicole Goetze, Ryan Joyce, Sarah Bennett, Lauren Kensky and Kristen Berset
Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun
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