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In memory of Heather

PLATTSBURGH - When 29-year-old Heather Smith passed away in an all-terrain-vehicle accident March 28, it took just two days for her family to come up with a way to memorialize her. Smith, a former cross-country track runner, had been training for the City of Plattsburgh Half-Marathon for three months."She was excited [for the race]," explained her fianc , John Moody."It was for a good cause and she really liked the idea of it." The half-marathon raised money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, in the fight against Parkinson's disease. "Right from the moment she heard about it, she got on it and registered,"Moody said. "That was all she talked about.""She always wanted to run a marathon," added her father, Lee Smith."So, she figured a half-marathon wouldbe a start."After the accident, Moody made contact with City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department superintendent Steve Peters and event organizer Stephanie Desautels."We called them to see what we could do," he recalled. "Within 10 minutes they were like, 'Come right over.' Theywere so helpful."From the discussion Moody had with Peters and Desautels, it was decided Smith's family would walk the marathon in her memory. During the half-marathon April 18, Smith's family members -each wearing a T-shirt with her picture on it -were stationed at each mile marker, with her sister, Ashley Leinbach, taking the first leg. At mile 12, the whole famil yjoined together to finish the 13.1-mile race. "When I [got to] 13 miles, I just kind of ran the rest of the way for Heather," said Leinbach. "I wanted to run across for her. I know how it feels to be in her shoes." "Everybody was yelling and cheering her on," she added, crying. "I got to walk in her shoes for a minute." At the end of the race, with a large crowd of supporters cheering them on, each member of Smith's family received a medal all of the racers received uponfinishing."I know she's here now,"said Lee Smith. "She supported us through this."

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