World Alzheimer’s Day “Run for Heroes” Marathon this Sunday

By Joel Charron

The streets will be filled with runners come Sunday, Sept. 25, as the World Alzheimer’s Day “Run for Heroes” Marathon is set kick off.

The “Run for Heroes” marathon is expected to attract 750 runners to the area and is also a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Chris Uszynski, whose father has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for many years, is heading organizational efforts.

Uszynski founded the World Alzheimer’s Day Ultra Marathon in 2007, a 13-hour event that covered 100 kilometers across Windsor-Essex County before ending in Amherstburg. This year, the event has been grounded in Amherstburg and the entire event will be here with the starting and finishing points being the United Communities Credit Union Complex.

Although the marathon doesn’t have any “elite” runners because they are not offering a purse, Uszynski said there would be plenty of talent to cheer on.

“We have some folks that are maybe, 15 minutes off the world record,” he said. “We have folks that will complete the half marathon in an hour and 12-15 minutes and we have folks that said they will run 2:30 for the marathon.”

There is a full 42 km marathon as well as a 32 km route, the latter being able to serve as a training run for a fall marathon in such places as Detroit or Chicago. A 21 km half-marathon is what Uszynski believes will be the most popular with a 5 km and a 10 km route also offered.

Uszynski said one of the reasons he decided to put together the “Run for Heroes” Marathon was to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.

“Out of all the major diseases, Alzheimer’s is the worst way to go,” Uszynski explained. “An entire lifetime of memories gone. It’s just the most cruel diseases.”

Uszynski’s father was recently placed into a home but Uszynski’s mother had been the primary caregiver for 19 years prior to that. He holds annual runs for the Alzheimer Society’s caregiver programs to help support those tirelessly looking after their loved ones.

“If we can keep a caregiver with a loved one at home for one year, it saves long term care costs to the government of at least $60,000 a year,” Uszynski said.

Although Uszynski said he basically had to “start from scratch” to plan this event, he is very excited for the marathon to start.

“It’s been a really interesting journey,” he said. “What you’re doing in this run, you’re marrying a whole bunch of passions. You’re marrying the passion of your loved ones with this disease and a fundraiser. You’re marrying the passion of a gorgeous town with a sport that I have so much respect for.”

Uszynski said Amherstburg has now been put on the global running map.

“This is one of 12 courses in the country that are Boston Marathon qualifiers,” he said.

Uszynski said not only does he want to help

show off the new recreation complex, but also the town as a whole. He said the routes are very scenic and includes by the waterfront, through Fort Malden National Historic Site, through the downtown core and along Big Creek. Along the route, there will be roughly a dozen musical acts set up as well as roughly 25 people dressed as zombies scattered throughout the course.

Uszynski added that the Amherstburg Police along with Public Works, tourism office, administration and the Park and Recreation departments are being “overwhelmingly cooperative” in the planning of the marathon.

“I really think that the town vision really falls in line with what I’ve been trying to accomplish with the marathon,” he said. The town gets it. Their cooperation has really been second to none.”

Over 125 volunteers are used to help the marathon move forward.

Uszynski also added that the public comes out and supports the runners and sees the event first hand.

“The most memorable thing about marathons is the crowd support,” he explained. “This could be a world class event. It’s going to be incredible and inspiring.”

The World Alzheimer’s Day “Run for Heroes” Marathon will begin roughly at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.

One response to “World Alzheimer’s Day “Run for Heroes” Marathon this Sunday”

  1. Jim Augerman says:

    Congrats to The Town, the sponsors, the River Town Times and all of the volunteers and organizing committee for jumping-on Chris’s passion.

    There was only one mis-quote I believe in the write-up…it should read this WILL become a world-class event…

    All the best to all runners and walkers Sunday. Heroes running for Heroes…doesn’t get any better than that. I am hoping to PB the half and using it as an early prep for Hamilton Road2Hope.

    Thanks so much for bringing world-class to SW Ontario! It’s also gonna save me hundreds of dollars each year sleeping in my own bed and running close to home!!