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Rick Suarez training for a marathon

Rick Suarez, runs with the Chicago Area Runners Association as they train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2017. He has regularly been participating in marathons ever since.

Two years ago this month, Rick Suarez hadn't done any marathons. Since then, he has participated in four, with plans to run in more.

The retired Hammond firefighter's next 26-mile race will be the New York City Marathon, Nov. 3 in the Big Apple. He completed the Nashville Marathon earlier this month.

The 64-year-old is doing the runs to raise money for patient care and research for Alzheimer's disease, a condition that affects his 89-year-old mother.

"Alzheimer's a tough thing," said Suarez, who owns a painting company in Hammond. "It's tough on the family. It's one of those diseases that affects the family. Everybody has to get involved with watching her."

He has brought in thousands of dollars for the Alzheimer's Association since running his first marathon two years ago, in Chicago. In 2018, he did the Milwaukee and New York City Marathons.

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His next goal is to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors. He has done two of the six races in that competition — Chicago and New York — and intends to participate in the other two: Berlin, Boston, London and Tokyo.

"If my legs hold up, next year I may end up trying," he said.

To train for his races, Suarez starts running regularly in early June. By August, he's doing about a half-marathon every week.

"The last two weeks you kind of taper back down," he said. "And then, allegedly, you're ready to go."

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.