DES MOINES, Iowa –Runners are hoping for good weather this coming weekend as they get ready for the IMT Des Moines Marathon. Seventy of the runners are a part of a team of all stars with a special purpose.
Running seems to be second nature for Tom Duffy. "I started as a body builder and then went to long distance races," he said.
He's completed two stand-alone marathons and two triathlons, but the race he's preparing for now is a new challenge. "When I found about the All Stars, it all came rushing back."
Duffy is part of the Blank All Stars. It's made up of endurance athletes who will run in one of the IMT Des Moines Marathon races. "All Stars is perfectly named for everybody this program benefits and people are involved with," said Matt Zepeda of Zoom Performance Gym.
Zoom Performance started the team four years ago. In addition to a rigorous 16-week training program, members raise money for Blank Children's Hospital. "To have a bigger purpose, to have the mission, to know that it is more than just you, and when it gets hard during a race to realize there's that deeper inspiration of coming from what you're giving back," said Zepeda.
It's personal for Duffy. His son Henry was born several weeks early 11 years ago, and he spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. "For the longest time he was a little behind because he was a preemie, but for the most part he's a normal 5th grader. You'd never know he had problems," said Duffy.
The All Stars have raised $100,000 the past four years, and it's given Duffy a new purpose to run. “I keep telling myself, I'm doing it for the kids. I'm running all the miles for the doctors, my son, it's a bigger cause right now."
Money from the past two years will pay for a new room in Blank's Pediatric Therapy expansion. You can still join the Blank All Stars or contribute to a team member on Blank Children’s Hospital’s website.