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Cancer survivor Beckie Fry determined to beat the bus in half marathon

Updated: October 9, 2012 3:06PM

In the middle of radiation treatment for breast cancer, Beckie Fry began training for her first half marathon. So understand the Plainfield woman’s goal.

The 16th annual Chicago Half Marathon & Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K is Sunday, beginning and ending in Jackson Park. The bulk of the 13.1 mile course is along the lakefront north to 31st Street and back. The elite runners begin at 7 a.m. The 5K begins at 7:45 a.m.

“Originally, I just wanted to finish and not to be picked up by the bus,’’ Fry said Thursday after her last 2-mile training run before the race. “On my good days, I am a 12. I will finish. We are all determined.’’

Runners in the half marathon must maintain a 13-minute mile pace or be picked up by a race vehicle and taken to the finish.

Fry, 47, was diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer in December. She underwent radiation treatment from January through March. In February, Fry, now cancer-free, began training while following the novice schedule set by Team World Vision.

“[Medical staff] said, ‘The more exercise, the better,’ ’’ she said. “There are lots of side effects [with radiation treatment]. The big thing is fatigue. I didn’t feel it near what most people feel. The doctor said it was probably because I was exercising.’’

Team World Vision, a Christian relief organization, encourages groups and individuals to dedicate their fitness goals to helping achieve the organizations efforts in Africa. Many people are now doing 5Ks, half marathons and marathons as charity exercises.

“They have two schedules: one for seasoned runners, one for those who have never run,’’ Fry said.

The novice schedule begins with running three or four times a week with several minutes of running followed by a minute of walking. Eventually, the minutes of running are shifted to miles. Two months in, she said they were encouraged to run a 5K.

“I am not like a runner, but it totally works,’’ Fry said. “I have never been associated with exercise. This will make such a good scrapbook page.’’

She runs regularly at 6 a.m. with a small group (“the slowest ones’’) out of the larger Team World Vision Bolingbrook Group — 121:Run. The larger group does weekly runs at places like Waterfall Glen. The team name references Hebrews 12:1, a famous Bible verse about running. The group is through Westbrook Christian Church in Bolingbrook, where Fry’s husband Marc is director of tHis Generation Children & Youth Ministry.

He is taking off Sunday to watch his wife run, and other church members also will bear witness. Their son-in-law Vinnie Snyder, an accomplished runner, also will race.

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