A Race for Dad
In 2010, when Jake Marcus’ father, Stephen Marcus, was diagnosed with Crohn’s, Jake decided the best thing to do was lace up his running shoes.
“I saw my dad struggling and going to the hospital, and that touched me. I felt like something had to be done,” says Jake, a 23-year-old Boston-native and avid runner.
A year later, he donned the orange singlet as a Team Challenge racer dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases- but he would have no way of knowing his effort to help his father would turn into so much more.
“I have met more and more people that are affected by (these diseases), and that’s a great motivator for me,” says Jake, who also helped create Team Intestinal Fortitude, an organization comprised of a group of more than 20 family members and friends committed to raising money for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis research.Jake along with his family have raised more than $130,000 this year and raised more than $400,000 in total with the help of a series of successful events in their Massachusetts hometown and their heavy involvement in Team Challenge.
“My favorite memory from Team Challenge is actually when we were announced as the top fundraiser in Napa our first year,” he adds.
The five-time Team Challenge participatant says though racing in Vegas is his favorite Team Challenge event, each race is uniquely different every time he runs. This year he finished Team Challenge Virginia as one of the top runners of the race, even with an ankle injury.
“My advice to anyone thinking of joining Team Challenge: Have fun with it. Races are an opportunity to celebrate and be together with other people, especially with Team Challenge, where everyone is racing for a great cause. Just stay calm and you'll make it to that finish line.”
In the fall, Jake will follow in his father’s footsteps and attend law school at the University of Miami, but he insists that his busy schedule as a juris doctorate student won’t stop him from training for the next Team Challenge race.
“Team Challenge is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s a lot of positive people for a great cause. It is such a gratifying challenge.”
Pictured: Jake Marcus and family- Alexandra Marcus, Stephen Marcus, and Carol Augustyniak