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This year, Get Your Rear in Gear – Charlotte presented their first Long Distance Hero Award in Charlotte, NC – a passion and creation of Local Event Director Sue Falco.

Sue was training for her first half marathon in 2012 when she was told her colon cancer had metastasized to her lungs. “It was devastating, but left me more determined than ever to cross the finish line.”  After a thoracotomy and one round of chemotherapy, Sue flew Long Distance Hero Photo 2to Nashville to run the race with her training team by her side. It was there that the Long Distance Hero was born.

 “My training team set aside their personal running goals, despite all their hard work and training, to run by my side and help me achieve a goal no one thought I could reach. They were my heroes.” For Sue, a long distance hero was someone who goes the distance, no matter how long the journey. It was exactly what her team embodied onLong Distance Hero Photo 1 race day.

The Long Distance Hero award is given to someone who has gone above and beyond to help support a colon cancer survivor, and Sue’s husband, John, was the unsuspecting recipient this year.  He has been by her side since she was first diagnosed seven years ago, and Sue is always looking for ways to thank him for all he does without complaint.

 “We have had a very trying 6 months and this time I wanted to thank him in a much bigger way.  Creating this award was the perfect way to show John and my children what an amazing person he truly is. I know there are others out there looking for a way to say thank you to their caregivers. “

 LDG Blog Award PhotoWhat started as Sue’s passion to honor and acknowledge important caregivers is now growing beyond our Charlotte race. We are so inspired by Sue’s effort to create this award, that it is expanding it to honor a Long Distance Hero at many of our races in the future.  There is no doubt that caregivers are such amazing people, who do so much without expecting anything in return.

The Long Distance Hero award will be given any many future Get Your Rear in Gear events. Nomination information will be available soon.

 “The road is long, but we’ll go the distance with our everyday heroes.” – Sue Falco

You can read more about Sue’s journey on her blog, Long Distance Hero.