UNIVERSITY PARK — Sue Paterno, Penn State women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose, and track and field Olympian Greg Fredericks are the honorary coaches for the 11th annual Marathoners for Medicine, an event that helps raise funds for the Centre Volunteers in Medicine.
CVIM is a local organization that provides free medical and dental care to Centre County residents who don’t have insurance.
With nearly two dozen runners, a couple new faces and a supportive community, Sue Forster, CVIM marketing, communications and events coordinator said she thinks the $50,000 goal can be exceeded.
Each of the runners picked a marathon or half marathon to run in while attempting to raise money individually for the organization. To date, the charity has raised about $400,000, according to Cheryl Jo White, of CVIM.
“It started with one runner and grew into this incredible event that brings the community together,” White said. “There is a big need to help those without health and dental care in this county.”
This year is runner Marty Klanchar’s 10th year, as he’ll run in the Boston Marathon on April 15 and the Pittsburgh Marathon about three weeks later.
“Offering these clinics is essential for this community,” he said. “By helping raise money, I’m only doing my part to help those in need.”
Klanchar said he depends on friends and family to help donate in addition to handing out fliers to spread the word.
John Domico, a local runner and CVIM board member, started Marathoners for Medicine in 2003 as the only runner. By the second year, there were eight runners, and by last year they had 34 runners and raised $50,000.
“There was this issue of people being uninsured,” Domico said. “I felt that was a mission of mine to find a way to help while doing something I enjoyed.”
This year, Domico is sidelined with a knee injury but will serve as a supporter to the other runners and hopes to be back next year.
In 2003, Joe and Sue Paterno, along with Fredericks, were asked to help lead the team as honorary coaches — Sue leading the women, Fredericks leading the men, and Joe Paterno as the team’s honorary head coach. This year, Joe Paterno was replaced by Rose, who said it’s not about winning, but being a part of something that supports a good cause while having a little fun.
“I’m going to keep doing this as long as I’m asked back,” Rose said. “It brings out the spirit of help in people.”
And since its start, Sue Paterno said she has been a part of it and something her late husband was proud to help be a part of.
“People don’t understand the large population here that are uninsured and need that help to live healthy,” Paterno said. “It helps and serves so many, and has grown exponentially over the years. We need to break this cycle of bad health care.”
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @brmilazzo.