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DMM Runner and Group 18’s Morale Captain: Jessie Simkins

1. Why did you decide to run the marathon for the second time?

I have never experienced something so incredible for such a great cause. I had no idea what to expect when running the Chicago Marathon, but during the entire race I knew the long summer of training was worth it. Without Dance Marathon, the experience would not have been the same. They offered tattoos to put on your arm that had a kiddo’s name for every mile, so whenever you felt like you were too exhausted all you had to do was read your arm and you would immediately push through it. Going in, I only knew one other person running it and only my Mom on the sideline, but there was constant encouragement and “FTK!” chants thrown my way the entire time just because I was wearing lime! It was amazing having the support of DM students and families and knowing that you were running for a cause so much bigger than yourself. I couldn’t resist being a part of that again and working hard to do everything I can for the organization!

2. How is this marathon going to be different from the marathon last year?

I have met so many other runners this year that I am so excited to train with! There are so many Morale Captains running and they are the most enthusiastic and dedicated people I have ever met, so I know if I ever get lazy or need a running buddy someone will be ready to go. And now that I know what to expect, I am pumped to be much more encouraging throughout the race. During the Marathon, even when you see a runner for DM (no matter how tired you are) you find the energy to smile and cheer them on or give them a big “FTK!”. Throughout the race I am so excited to just see lime and have an immediate burst of adrenaline out of excitement. It’s so cool that there are so many people there For The Kids, and that will keep you running for hours!

3. How is your marathon training going this summer?

Last summer I ran a half-marathon in May so it was easy to just continue the training from there, however this year I’ve hit a little road block with tendinitis in my ankle. It’s been a few months but I’m hoping it will go away for good very soon so I can start working hard! The weather has been perfect so i am excited to finally get out there. Also, it’s great being in Iowa City during the summer for training because there are a lot of resources available through DM (Like group runs, canning opportunities, Running Wild, etc!).

4. So far, how are you enjoying being more involved in DM compared to last year?

IT IS FANTASTIC! Having the opportunity to be a Morale Captain is definitely one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I am so happy to be able to give more to the organization and do everything I can for these kiddos and their families. As I mentioned before, the MC’s are the most enthusiastic and dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet, and I know we can accomplish so much this year! They literally radiate positivity, and it is incredible during a meeting to be in a room full of so much optimism and motivation. Getting to know the leadership team for DM has introduced me to inspiring and genuine people all working toward helping these kids in need. The best part is the support that goes beyond the financial aspect, and being on leadership offers many opportunities to raise money and do so much more. We’ve set our goals high and can’t wait to accomplish so much FTK!

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