A week from Sunday, thousands of runners will hit the streets downtown for the IMT Des Moines Marathon. When one runner takes his mark, he will start in last place.
“No matter if this is your very first one, which is great or you’ve run 40 of them, it’s always a challenge,” says 51-year-old John Beals.
Beals is running in his 8th marathon, but this will be the first race since his mother died.
“My mom, June, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago. When this started affecting her, it was really kinda of like ‘Wow of all people’. Her memory was so excellent,” he says.
His mom lost her battle with Alzheimer’s in May at the age of 84. Beals planned to run on October 20th, but after her death, he decided to do something different.
“You always hear of that, the joke, ‘Oh look who starts there’, but as long as I don’t finish in last, that is the main thing,” says Beals.
With each runner he passes on his 26.2 mile journey, Beals is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association. He’s collecting pledges from family, friends, family and anyone else willing to donate to the cause.
“With the chip that they put on your shoe, can basically tell how many I have passed. So I won’t know until the end how many I have passed. Hopefully, it’s a large number,” he says.
This marathon isn’t just about crossing the finish line, it’s about helping other families affected by Alzheimer’s.
“I kind of want to run for all those people. All the caregivers, the family, the friends of the people with Alzheimer’s,” says Beals.
And for his mom.
To support Beals’ effort to raise money for research, contact the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Iowa by calling 515-440-2722 or online through their website.