Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marathon Winner Runs the Race of His Life for His Wife; Marc Burget Turns His 26.2 with Donna Victory into a Show of Support

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marathon Winner Runs the Race of His Life for His Wife; Marc Burget Turns His 26.2 with Donna Victory into a Show of Support

Article excerpt

Byline: Clayton Freeman

Marc Burget dashed down the finishing straight at Sunday's 26.2 With Donna marathon, broke the tape at the line and immediately looked to his right.

There was one place he wanted to be and one face he wanted to see, and she was there, 25 yards away in the crowd, standing up against the signs and aluminum barriers lining the course.

This victory was sweet.

"This means the most to my wife," he said.

No one could have written a more memorable Valentine's Day script for the Jacksonville runner, who captured an emotional and deeply personal victory in the race to finish breast cancer.

The 42-year-old Burget dedicated his win to wife Christina, who was diagnosed with breast cancer on Jan. 7.

"Cancer's not going to stop us doing what we love to do," he said. "We're going to keep on pushing through it."

Christina began chemotherapy about two weeks ago at the Mayo Clinic, practically a stone's throw from the race's finish line.

"To be dealing with this, and now be here and see how amazing the support is, it's great," she said.

Running his fourth Donna marathon, Marc Burget pushed hard in the closing miles, making up a deficit that once had exceeded a minute and winning in 2:46:18 ahead of Jack McAfee of Knoxville, Tenn., and William Hartje of Ponte Vedra Beach.

"We're out here trying to give hope and joy," race founder Donna Deegan said. "I can't imagine how happy he must be."

The Burgets' remarkable story was just one of many on display, as thousands of runners, doctors, volunteers, officials and more came together in the ninth annual event to raise funds for breast cancer research and support.

In the women's marathon, Julie Stackhouse of Jacksonville took the victory to complete a sweep for local runners. Stackhouse, 37, doubled her distance and doubled her trophies at the 26.2 With Donna, winning the marathon one year after taking first place in the half marathon.

"I won the half last year and it was such a great feeling," she said. …

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