PORT ANGELES — Hundreds of competitors in the North Olympic Discovery Marathon can expect to pass a determined woman on the trail.
She’ll be using crutches and competing on one leg — with no prosthetics.
Dana Lawson has a message she wants to share with those people.
Lawson has been preparing for months to do the marathon, working her way up to 20 miles a day with a team of supporters by her side. She said right now is in a “taper-down phase” as part of her final preparations for the race.
Lawson is a Port Angeles resident who lost her leg to cancer and continues to fight the disease in her hip and pelvis. She’ll be relying on her SideStix high-tech crutches and sheer will to go the full 26.2 miles. She’s figured she’s already done 20 and can make the little extra push for those final 6 miles.
She’ll be starting at 7 Cedars Casino on her own at 1:30 a.m., several hours ahead of the other runners. Her hope is to arrive at the Port Angeles City Pier by 1 p.m., 11½ hours later.
Lawson said that while she has definitely gotten stronger while training, the effort has been very hard on her hands.
“My hands are definitely in rough shape. I’ve got blisters, but nothing so excrutiating that it’s holding me up,” she said.
Her story has brought supporters along with her on the trail as she trains.
“A team of women have rallied me,” she said. “Domestic abuse survivors.”
Lawson, also a domestic abuse survivor, is running to raise awareness about domestic abuse. She has a crowdfunding program called “Heart & Sole: Racing for Survivors” at www.tinyurl.com/kwv579ta. Funds raised by her marathon run will directly support her program, Unbounded Horizons, which uses the outdoors to help women heal from domestic abuse.
So far, Lawson has raised $3,745 toward a $25,000 goal.
As she will be on the trail hours before other runners, hundreds of people will pass her and she’ll be wearing a T-shirt promoting her Heart & Sole campaign.
Lawson said another reason she is doing the marathon is she made a promise many years ago to run a marathon with her mother. Her mother never got that chance as she passed away from cancer.
“For 22 years, running a marathon has been in the back of my mind. I made a promise to her I would never give up,” Lawson said. “I feel like my mom is literally walking along with me, holding my hand.”
More information about Unbounded Horizons can be found at www.unbounded horizons.org.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at [email protected].