Family to run first full marathon together to raise pancreatic cancer awareness

2013-09-09T17:00:00Z 2013-09-10T01:37:04Z Family to run first full marathon together to raise pancreatic cancer awarenessJohn Burbridge, (219) 933-3371

HEBRON | Husband and wife Brian and Emily Hixon both run, though they do it for different reasons.

"I run to keep my head together," Emily said. "It's a great way to relieve stress."

Brian is a little more stopwatch conscious.

"If I can improve just a minute from last race, I'm satisfied," Brian said.

"That's just the way he is ... competitive about everything," Emily said.

"Nah, not really," Brian counters, "but I will mention our last race I finished 30 minutes ahead of her."

The Hebron couple are both experienced half-marathon runners who regularly traverse the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon every spring. On October 20, the Hixons and Emily's sister, Christa Marlowe, of Milwaukee, will all attempt their first full 26.2-miler at the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon.

"It would be nice if could cross the finish line together," Emily said.

"Except I just may jump ahead at the last second," Brian said.

Really, who finishes first, second and third among the three is not the primary objective. The trio is running the race in memory of Emily and Christa's mother, Marilyn Marlowe, a longtime sixth-grade teacher at Solan Robinson Elementary School in Crown Point, who died from pancreatic cancer on May 29, 2010.

"She went in because she was having back troubles, and that's when she was diagnosed," Emily said. "We were devastated. We knew the odds of survival (about six percent) but she fought it courageously and lasted 10 months."

About a year and a half ago, Emily, Brian and Christa decided to start training to run their first marathon in memory of Marilyn, and utilizing the endeavor to raise funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer research.

"That's when we learned about the Lustgarden Foundation," said Emily, who was able to set up a pledge page that included details about the life of Marilyn and fatal brush with the disease.

They hope to reach a goal of $5,000.

All three runners are following a training regimen and are up to 18 miles per single run. They got off to a sluggish start when they tried to register for the Chicago Marathon.

"There was an online registration glitch that shutdown the site when we tried to register," Brian said. "When we tried later, it was all filled up."

So they settled for Detroit which will provide an international nuance.

"Part of the race goes into Canada," Emily said of the course that crosses into Windsor, Ontario, by way of the Ambassador Bridge before returning to the States through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

"That's why we needed to get passports and keep them with us when we run," Emily said. "I don't think they'll be checking too many runners along the course, but you never know."

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