The Interview – for Charity Runner

Why are you involved with Charity Runner? (For example: how did you first hear about the program, what inspired you to select the American Cancer Society as your charity of choice, etc.)

My career with the American Cancer Society has been for 15 years raising the much needed funds in the fight against cancer through various events. Daffodils, Jail & Bail, Ski Races, Making Strides against Breast Cancer & Relay For Life. Nationwide we have raised in excess of $18 million this past year partnering with various corporations, volunteers and staff teams across the country in directing our Relay For Life National Corporate Team Program. I know and love this organization that every dollar we raise is spent wisely, goes to support our mission of fighting cancer, finding a cure through research and increasing the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Charity Runner has been in Illinois where I have run the Chicago marathon twice, and I have supported friends through this event in the past. But not until now have I realized that this passion I have for running, getting faster and stronger is a natural match for my work in raising funds for ACS. Now, through Charity Runner – I combine my passion of running with my passion to find a cure for cancer, to honor my friends and volunteer leaders who are cancer survivors – like my dear friend currently battling cancer and in chemo – – Mary Beth Reddell. It is her fight that is fueling me – motivating me in my marathon training, and my quest to raise more donor dollars.

How many years have you been involved with Charity Runner and the American Cancer Society?

This is my first Charity Runner – but I have been involved with the American Cancer Society for the past 15 years as a staff person covering first 5 counties in Western NH as an Area Director, then off to Colorado as a Relay For Life Specialist in Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley. I moved back home and became a trainer with Relay in the New England Division and then started with the National office 9 years ago in the Relay For Life Business Unit, then moving into the Employer Initiative department as the director of the Relay For Life National Corporate Team Program. I work with 40 companies nationwide to internally promote and recruit 50 – 2000 teams in their company. It is an amazing organization to work for as I have seen so many survivor stories of hope and know that the Society is doing due diligence in use of the donor dollars to make a difference and FIGHT this disease. I am very very proud to be a director in this organization. I get up every morning knowing that what I do is bringing us closer, each step, in pace to win – beat this disease.

How many years have you participated in local road races or marathons?

This is my 21st marathon – I have been participating in these type races since 1984 – when I ran in a triathlon with Warren Duty and Glen – Warren was so hung over he did not show up to run and I had to swim and run. Since then I have been doing the full triathlon, because biking was my favorite of the three. Thanks Warren! IF you count the years… that means I have been competing for 25 years. I have been sponsored in the by Power Bar, The Pasta Pot, Briko, and GU. Currently I have no sponsors attached, but have appreciated all my support in the past. It is a lot of funds in equipment, race fees, and travel as I compete nationwide in events. I am really lucky to have such a supportive family.

Is this your first time running a marathon? If so, what will your training schedule look like?

I have completed 4 ironmans (my best in under 12 hours with a 3:50 marathon at the end) and too many 1/2 ironmans, 1/2 marathons to count! 🙂

I have run Boston 4 times 2007 (3:05)1990(3:51), 1993 (4:16), 2002 (4:10) 2007
I have run the VT City marathon 3 times, this will be my fourth VT. City marathon
VT City Marathon – 1993 (3:33), 1994 (3:27:14), 1999 (3:35)
Training – run long on the weekends, follow the Hal Higdon training plan – and try to get in as much speedwork as possible. Trying to listen to my body, take in the advice of my nike plus coaches on my Ipod and keep a steady training schedule.

How will you fundraise for this event?

Online fundraising, writing letters and involving people in my training and success. I also have a birthday coming up and hope to combine some additional funds after the race. I think it is best to communicate to those that support you mentally in your every day life and those that have made donations and keep them posted on your training and results. Not everyone has it in them to run a marathon, so it is great to share the experience. Make it personal – to me, share why I am involved and fighting cancer and at the same time ask my circle of friends and family to dig deep and realize how it may have touched their lives. The more I raise, the more I can make a difference. Please click on this link and make your donation today! 🙂

Do you have a personal connection to cancer? If so, please explain:

I know of so many friends and volunteers that have been fighting this disease multiple times I don’t know where to begin. As staff for the American Cancer Society we have this exercise at meetings where we light a candle and go around the room and everyone shares “why they Relay”. I cannot help but to shed a few tears before my time to speak and share about my friends, Susan, Mary Beth, Keith, Chester, and the list goes on…. We need to fight this disease. When I get a wish (whether it is on a birthday cake, or when the chair stops on the wheels at the ski slope) I wish for a cancer free world.

I am dedicating my marathon to Mary Beth Reddell – here is the story to share with you about why this dedication is so important to me.

Did you use an American Cancer Society program or service during your diagnosis and treatment? Please check all Society programs and services that apply.

 Road to Recovery  Called 1-800-ACS-2345 for help
 Reach to Recovery  Visited for information
 Look Good. . .Feel Better  We Can Weekend
 I Can Cope  Adventure Weekend
 Patient Service Center
 Other – please elaborate:

I have seen all of these services in action and have recruited volunteers for them all and have seen so many people benefit from the services as well. I have had the opportunity to go to the NCIC call center in Austin – it is amazing the training, the knowledge, the resources and the dedication of the operators answering those calls for help – 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year…

Special Characteristics: (Anything else that would be beneficial for us to know in order to promote your story?)

I have an elite master number in a front corral and hope to do well at this race. My goals are simple, to stay healthy, to grow stronger each day, to motivate others to be healthy and take up exercise as a daily regime. I am a competetive person and love to win. My times in recent past should place me in the top five for the master women. Click here for my resume of results.
AND Wish me luck!

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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