Champlain athlete has sights set on Berlin Marathon

CHAMPLAIN When Shawn Turner first took to his bike he thought he might drop a few pounds, maybe get in better shape. One year later, hes 134 pounds lighter and planning to run his first marathon in Germany. The story for this Champlain resident started April 17 of last year. Thats the day he purchased his first bike and started riding. Frustrated with the aches and pains he was feeling after his rides, he went on-line to research better biking techniques. That quest led him to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation holds various cycling and running events throughout the U.S., and also participates in premiere events worldwide to raise money for cancer research, education and awareness programs. When he found an announcement for a 100-mile bicycle ride in Philadelphia, he decided it was just the thing to keep him motivated and signed up. After months of intense training, he was able to complete that task. This year, its the marathon that has caught his eye. I decided to start running to maintain my weight loss through the winter, explained Turner. My first run was a three-mile run. I didnt die, so I kept going. Much like signing up for the bike thing motivated me last year, I decided signing up for the marathon would motivate me this year, he added. In addition to wanting to maintain his weight loss, hes been motivated on his journey by people he has known who have been touched by cancer, including his own paternal grandparents. A lot of very well-known and well-liked people in this area have died of cancer recently, he said. It turns out Turner has motivated others as well. My mom just bought a bike because of me, said Turner. Its really nice to be known as the guy with the bike." If he has his way, Turner will also be known as the guy who doesnt quit. The goal I set for myself is to not walk, he said. Another challenge will be running it alone. Since the full-time State University of New York at Plattsburgh graduate student will be in the midst of his final semester of student teaching, hes planning a four-day surgical strike to Berlin with just his sister as an entourage. In the meantime, however, Turner has a lot of preparation before hell be ready for Berlin Sept. 28. In addition to a rigorous training schedule under the tutelage of Plattsburgh State runner Alyssa Recny, Turner still needs to raise the minimum $3,500 donation for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Turner stresses all the money raised through donations will go directly to the foundation, which aims to spread the critical message that cancer must become a national priority. Supporters can make a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Turners name by visiting the LIVESTRONG Web site at www.livestrong.org/grassroots2008/shawnturner. Donations can also be made at Nephews Discount Liquor & Wine located in Champlain Plaza, Champlain.

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