Her legs pumping up and down on the frustratingly stationary stair machine, Susan Templet is training for possibly the hardest race of her life.
"We do weights and cardio to keep our muscle endurance up because running stairs is not like running a marathon," explained her trainer and friend DeShae Falgoust.
It's not a goal distance for which Templet aims. Instead, a height will mark her finish line. Templet is racing 86 flights of stairs to the top of one the nation's most iconic skyscrapers, the Empire State Building.
"It's either inspiring or they think we're crazy," said Falgoust with a laugh. The trainer will beside Templet the whole way.
The race, the Empire State Building Run-Up, is not just about bragging rights; although, climbing 1,576 stairs in less than 20 minutes is plenty to be proud of. The race is all about raising money for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to developing a cure for myeloma which is a rare blood cancer.
Helping to fund that cause is a passion for Templet. She lost her father to the cancer two years ago.
"It gives me a purpose," said Templet. "Because for a while after my dad passed away, you wonder what you can do because you feel helpless. I just woke up one day, and said this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to fund-raise for cancer and fund critical research that's needed."
Only 500 people are chosen to run each year. Of those spots, only 200 are open to the public. (One hundred spots go to media and celebrities. The remaining 200 spots are filled by athletes, drawn at random, racing for the best time.)
Susan will run with her sister from Alabama, and with Falgoust. They are the only team from Louisiana, and have a goal of raising $8,000. So far, they've raised about half.
"Running a marathon, or running up the empire state building is not going to cure cancer but our research and a lot of other people's research will," said Templet.
The race is less than a month away on February 5. Susan's team hopes others will help them reach the top, and just maybe, make a difference in the fight against cancer.
If you would like to donate to Templet's team, go to www.active.com/donate/2014MMRFRunUp/RUSTemple.
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