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Going the distance for a great cause

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Local,Anne Boone Simanski

Allison Fleming, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Maryland, will be in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, not for a ride at Disney World but for a run ? a marathon to be exact, which will wind through the Epcot Center, the Magic Kingdom and Disney?s MGM studios.

A self-proclaimed lazy bones when it comes to running, Allison, who lives in Elkridge, has been training for months through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?s Team In Training (TNT) program, which, according to its Web site, has raised more than $700 million since 1988.

"In high school I played goalie for the soccer team so I didn?t have to run," Fleming said. "Then I came across an article about charity runs and how they would train people to run marathons. I always wanted to do something to honor [my grandmother, Helen Zeller O?Hare] who died [from lymphoma], and I?ve always wanted to challenge myself mentally and physically."

For the past five months Allison has been running daily, and on Saturdays she?s been training through the Howard County TNT group.

"So far, I have raised almost $4,000 on my personal TNT Web site (www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tntmdAFleming), and I am peaking at 20 miles in training runs."

The lesson learned? "If something seems impossible, you just have to tell yourself to ?Cowboy Up? and work hard," Allison sad. "If I can do this, anyone can."

Her donation site will be open for another month so "Cowboy Up" and support Allison in her first-ever marathon. For information on this program, go to www.teamintraining.org

Anne Boone-Simanski is the social columnist for The Examiner and can be reached at absss@baltimoreexaminer.com or 410-878-6131.

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