WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 19, 2010, 08:55 AM

Running to raise awareness

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - When thousands of runners take part in this weekend's marathon, there will be just as many unique and inspirational stories. Many run for time, some in memory of or in honor of a loved one, but perhaps there is no one running with a bigger purpose than Fargo's Kathleen Wrigley.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Stricken with brain aneurysms and subsequent vision problems, she has bounced back and will run the 26-mile course in hopes of raising awareness and money for research.

On one of her final training runs Kathleen Wrigley and friends sweat out the countdown to race day.

“It has only been a tenth of a mile.”

And what a journey this has been. It is amazing to see Kathleen today full of energy and inspiration, this after three surgeries in 6 years, grueling rehab, and a long comeback.

“When I think about 7-months ago, I could not bathe myself and here I am running 26 miles.”

But Kathleen will tell this run Saturday is not about her.

“I have 63 people here.”

She is honoring those who also have battled aneurisms, those who have won and lost.

“I can finally say my aneurism is clipped and wrapped and coiled and I have a lot of metal in my brain and for a purpose. I have a lot of metal in my brain and I feel an obligation to get the awareness out there.”

Kathleen will run with the help of a guide Saturday. The last operation for an aneurism impacted her vision.

“I was half blind.”

Her sight has improved greatly. And she says the community support for her during the ordeal has proven one thing to her.

“We have choices and they are not only easy. Choices and there are days where I have said the glass is half empty and have frank from the cup and it is not my personality and not fun.”

She is prepared for an emotional 26 miles.

“If you see me crying, don't call the medics, these are tears of joy. I am elated and so happy to be doing this I do this with a happy heart.”

Training was hard. Saturday's marathon is all reward.

The latest numbers now put this weekend's marathon at just over 17-thousand runners and more steps are being taken to insure safety for them all. With warm temperatures expected along with high winds, organizers are taking steps to increase medical staff and make sure runners stay hydrated along the course.

“Water is being increased, Powerade is being increased. We are going to have an ice truck and I talked to F-M Ambulance and we should have anywhere between 15 and 20 ambulances available.”

Of course there are always last minutes headaches in planning something this big. While most of the medals have arrived, some are stuck in shipping, but the T-shirts are in. They came today.