The San Francisco Marathon® Introduces “Worth the Hurt”

Marathon’s charity initiative expands in 2012 with direct sponsorship of six athletes.
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“Worth the Hurt” began as an inspired description of the famously hilly and scenic San Francisco Marathon, but in 2012, the event has turned into a distinct challenge, and a new model of charitable giving. On July 29th, The Wipro San Francisco Marathon will welcome six of running's most prolific fund-raisers in an audacious challenge: to run the marathon twice, back-to-back.

The 52.4-mile endeavor is only the starting point for Worth the Hurt -- a ground-breaking model for charitable fund-raising development. The six athletes are aiming to raise as much as $1,000,000 throughout the year -- and to empower this campaign, Worth the Hurt will sponsor each of them, granting up to $5,000 each to cover their race and training expenses. The athletes will fund-raise not only for the ultra-marathon, but throughout the calendar year.

“It is a completely new twist on event-based charitable giving,” notes Wendi Chapman, the Marathon's Vice President and director for Worth the Hurt. “These athletes are taking on worthy challenges, and by directly sponsoring them and covering many of their expenses throughout the year, we hope to empower them to raise more money for their favored charities and affect the lives of even more people.”
Among the athletes being sponsored are:

Ashley Kumlien, Brookfield, Wisconsin – This 27-year-old has watched her mother struggle with Multiple Sclerosis her entire life, and in 2009 – after rigorous training – took on the ultimate running challenge: to run across the United States. She not only completed the run, but set up a dedicated charity: MS Run the US that benefits the National MS Society.

Kevin Klein, Houston, Texas – A morning radio host for The New 93Q (KKBQ-FM) and a nominee in 2009 for PEOPLE Magazine's “All Stars Among Us,” Klein is a prolific fund-raiser and epic long-distance athlete. He and his wife Trish founded the Snowdrop Foundation in 2006 to help support pediatric cancer patients. After producing and starring in the movie “Dear Chelsey” which chronicles his 482-mile Strides Across Texas campaign, he is geared up for fifteen endurance races in 2012 with Worth the Hurt.

Dan Czerwonka, Los Angeles, California – As if running an ultra marathon isn't hard enough, Dan, a volunteer youth mentor, lawyer, entrepreneur and Ironman Paris finisher will be doing it…barefoot. All 52.4 barefoot miles will be done in an attempt to raise money for Godparents Youth Organization, a charity founded by a caring group of bus drivers in 2005 to provide travel mentoring to youths.

Meredith Dolhare, Charlotte, North Carolina – Four years ago, this former collegiate tennis star was recuperating from an injury when she decided to get moving, and she hasn't stopped since. She has spent the last four years competing in some of the toughest events on Earth, including last year's Ultraman UK triathlon. The 39-year-old will be running for Worth the Hurt on behalf of the Women's Sports Foundation.

Brian Gruender, Appleton, Wisconsin – A health scare early in the life of his young daughter Makelie turned Gruender into a dedicated community service dynamo. Before he takes on the 52.4, he will run 135 miles across Wisconsin to raise funds for Promises to Keep – a campaign dedicated to memorializing the sacrifices of the 158 soldiers who have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jason Bernstein, Altoona, Iowa – This firefighter/paramedic for the city of Des Moines is singularly devoted to the endurance lifestyle, with over 21 races scheduled for 2012. Despite a demanding job and busy family life, Bernstein devotes countless hours to fundraising for the AT Children's Project through events and Thrive Multisport, a coaching company that aims at getting people off the couch and into a healthy lifestyle.

Kevin Klein, who takes on epic endurance feats on behalf of the Snowdrop Foundation, said, "I never use the word ‘pain' to describe what I feel during an ultra-run. It's always just a level of discomfort. I've seen real pain in children fighting cancer. When a 15-year-old girl, for three straight days, can't even sit up in her mechanical bed because the hurt is unbearable...that's true pain. If what I go through in an ultra-endurance run can raise enough awareness and money so that a kid with cancer never has to be tortured like that again, then yes, my suffering is definitely Worth The Hurt."

The 52.4 route will open at 12 a.m. on July 29th, and all of the runners are expected to finish their first marathon in time to start with a field expected to surpass 8,000. For more information, visit the Worth the Hurt Facebook page.

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