A marathon a day to fight cancer

A marathon a day to fight cancer
A Google Map of Ben Hall's planned route is shown. (Created on Google Maps, Carroll County Times)

BALTIMORE -- About five years ago, Ben Hall lost both his uncle and aunt to different forms of cancer. In less than two weeks, he will begin a 353-mile run to his uncle's hometown to raise money for the American Cancer Society and spread awareness about cancer prevention.
The run will be the final step in a several week process to raise $5,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Sunday afternoon, Hall, of Manchester, helped lead a workout for his friends and family at Under Armour's headquarters. About 10 people worked every muscle in their body, from running to curls to medicine ball slams and jumping ropes.
While Hall was selling 50/50 tickets for the fundraiser, most of the crowd was filled with family and friends.
Hall said while he is running for his aunt and uncle, he began getting in shape about two years ago after his wife became pregnant with their first child.
Hall has a story similar to many high school athletes -- after high school ended, his workouts tapered off, but his diet remained.
He said he was able to eat whatever he wanted, including a lot of junk food, but eventually it all caught up to him. He weighed about 250 pounds at his heaviest, the former wrestling state champion said.
"I lost all my 20s to this person I didn't recognize anymore," Hall said.
He said when he got a personal trainer, he immediately took to working out again.
Reed Sothoron, one of two of Hall's trainers, said Hall is inspiring others with his active lifestyle.
While there isn't a proven cure to prevent cancer, Hall began learning about limiting risks, he said.
"We can do so many things to help our odds," Hall said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites being overweight or obese "substantially" raises a person's risk of getting uterine, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. Avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, protecting skin from the sun and getting tested for hepatitis C can also reduce the risk of cancer.
Hall intends to run, on average, about a marathon every day beginning Sept. 29 for 15 days until he reaches Fulton, N.Y. He challenged the town of Fulton to run the final three miles with him to his aunt's home, he said.
The most Hall will run in a single day is 32.8 miles. Average days range from 21 miles to almost 33 miles with two days of rest built into the trip. Many hotels he was planning on staying at are now sponsoring him for his run, he said.
Sothoron said lower body strength is key for running practically a marathon each day, but mental preparation is just as important. Once a week, Sothoron has given Hall a mental challenge, he said, because running for two weeks straight can be just as difficult for the mind as it is for the body.
"I work out with him sometimes, and he pushes me," Sothoron said.
The two ran the workout Sunday, before Hall paired off with a co-worker for a grueling workout.
Jamie Prue, Ben's mother, said her initial reaction to her son running 353 miles over 15 days was fear.
She said he had to stop thinking of the journey, and instead embrace how proud her late brother and sister, Timothy and Michelle, would be. She lost two of her siblings about five years ago, she said.
Michelle was diagnosed late with lung cancer, Hall said, and Timothy had a rare form of bone cancer. Prue said she believes the two will be watching over him while he runs.
"I know they're going to be carrying him [when he's tired]," she said.
At the end of the day, she said Hall isn't just doing the run for his aunt and uncle.
"He's doing it for everybody," she said.