Moyer prepares for Marine Corps Marathon


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HEGINS - Although she admits she's a relative "newbie" to the sport, one Hegins marathon runner will be giving it her all in an upcoming race to benefit autism research.

Jessica Moyer will be participating in the Marine Corps Marathon, a 26.2-mile marathon in Arlington, Virginia on October 26, 2014 in support of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). She's preparing to run her second marathon this year in support of a children's cause. This May she participated in a marathon in Pittsburgh for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital where she raised $1,250 in donations through R & K sandwich sales and personal fundraising.

"I chose this marathon because of its location, also because the registration isn't the normal 'fill out the form and pay the fee,'" Moyer said.

The Marine Corps Marathon began using a lottery system this year for entry and a person's entry is not guaranteed, she explained. Previous years' registration sold out in just hours, so organizers switched to the lottery system to give more runners a chance. "Since this is the third largest marathon in the U.S., this is amazing," Moyer said.

There will be approximately 30,000 runners participating. Of those 30,000, only 15,000 are chosen through the lottery. The remaining slots are for active and retired military and charity runners.

"I signed up thinking that I most likely would not get picked out of the thousands of other entrants. On the day of the lottery drawing I received the email that I was chosen. I was so excited and still am!"

The marathon course starts and ends in Arlington, VA, and winds through Washington, DC.

"It is one of the most beautiful places to run and was on my bucket list. I later decided that I wouldn't just run for me and that I should run for something greater than myself. I checked the marathon's list of participating charities and decided on Organization for Autism research because I know several families with a child or children that have autism. That made my decision extremely easy."

Moyer, 33, has three children of her own - two sons, ages 12 and 8; and a daughter, 14. She has been married to her husband, Robert, for seven years. She said her father, John McGovern, of Newtown, has been very supportive of her efforts, traveling with her and assisting her with fundraising.

Moyer only started running in the last year, an activity she began to overcome personal obstacles. She has been participating in local races including the recently held Hot Potato 5k held in Valley View and enjoys supporting children's causes through her running.

"I have been blessed with good health and healthy children of my own," she said. "I want to bring local awareness to issues that local kids and their families are dealing with including physical and mental illnesses."

Moyer began preparing for her latest marathon in June. She anticipates she will be running five to six days a week. One of those days will be a long run, she said, and the miles for that run increase as training progresses. The longest run before the marathon will be between 20 and 22 miles.

"For the Pittsburgh marathon, I trained when the kids were in school, now that it's summer break dividing my attention is a little more difficult. Most of time I run various routes throughout the valley," she said.

On Sundays Moyer participates in "Minersville Step and Stride," a running group for women run by Jenny Burgess and Sandi Bergan at the Minersville recreation complex.

For the October race, Moyer hopes to generate support from people in the community beyond her friends and family. "I hope that I can reach my goal of $2,600 - that's $100 for each mile of the race. I want every mile I run to help somebody else's family. I am hopeful that everyone can donate what they can so I can exceed my goal. Every dollar does matter."

The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) is a national non-profit committed to excellence in its research and services to individuals with autism and their families, educators, and caregivers. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the way one communicates and interacts with the environment. Today, 1 in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism, typically by the age of 3.

The Run For Autism is OAR's signature fundraising effort, having raised more than $2 million since its inception in 2003. To learn more about OAR, visit www.researchautism.org.

Donations can be mailed directly to: Jessica Moyer, 473 S. Good Spring Rd, Hegins, PA 17938 or pledged by credit card at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jessmoyer.

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