15 Jan LIFE Runners of the Year – wow!
We are honoring not just 1 but 4 of our 1,900 teammates as LIFE Runners of the Year. Ed Heigl and Sara Beaner were chosen as the adult male and female LIFE Runners of the Year. The two student honorees are James Vignola and Keelan Glass.
Ed Heigel (St. Louis, MO) has stage 4 liver and rectal cancer, yet he has run 40 races wearing his LIFE Runner shirt for more than 1,000 hours and raising over $1,500 for pro-life organizations in 2013. Ed is the only known cancer patient that runs long distance races including marathons, while wearing his chemo pump. Ed passed away on July 10th, 2015 and was buried in his LIFE Runners jacket, per his request.
Sara Beaner (Canistota, SD) has made the LIFE Runners a family affair. Her husband Tim and seven children helped to bridge the many miles across South Dakota as part of the 2013 LIFE Runners A-Cross America Relay. She shares her talent as an artist and has made several of the very large LIFE Runners banners that the team carries during the March for Life and other activities around the country.
James Vignola, as a freshman in high school (March 2013), ran 7 miles of the LIFE Runners A-Cross America Relay. Even though it was a non-competitive event, by doing so, he sacrificed his eligibility to compete with his high school track team according to Missouri High School Activities Association rules. James told the Jefferson City News Tribune last March, “I thought it was the right thing to do, and my conscience was telling me to do it.” Those words were echoed throughout the country and into other parts of the globe when that story went viral. James has since participated in several LIFE Runner training runs and says he plans to run in this year’s A-Cross America Relay as is moves through Mid-MO April 1 through the 4, 2014.
Keelan Glass, 6 years old, (Abilene, TX), ran the Showdown Half Marathon in Fairview, Texas, on October 12 with a time of 2:46:31, setting a new world record as the youngest to complete an official half marathon. This story went viral and the LIFE Runner world record setter also appeared on ABC’s World News Now, Good Morning America, Today Show and many other news programs.
Dr. Pat Castle, LIFE Runners president and co-founder said, “LIFE Runners is about living our Pro-Life faith out in the world and making our daily sacrifices a prayer offering to end the scourge of abortion, and these 4 individuals do exactly that. Each of them are extraordinary and have earned this honor – high fives!”
The 2 adult honorees names were added to the LIFE Runner of the Year plaque in memory of Joseph E. Castle, father of co-founder Pat Castle.
The new Student LIFE Runner of the Year honor is in memory of JP Peters, a 12 year old LIFE Runner from Sioux Falls, SD who in Feb 2013 lost his battle with HSAN and an immune deficiency. The Peters family is an under-girding support for LIFE Runners. JP’s spirit will live on by honoring other LIFE Runners youth who go above and beyond with defending the right to life. Thank you, JP!
Other amazing LIFE Runners considered for the honor were: Bill/Kris Pauls (MO), Barb Honeycutt (SD), Dan Hinrichs (MO), Colleen Ware (ID).
God first, Life always, Teammates forever!