HATTIESBURG, Miss - Hattiesburg Clinic's 5th Annual Rise and Shine half-marathon and 5K is around the corner, and participants are preparing to cross the finish line for a variety of inspiring reasons.
“Running together in 2016 symbolizes our family’s victory over cancer,” said Melissa Hanberry, from Hattiesburg.
Hanberry is preparing to run the race with her daughter, who just completed cancer treatment. She and her teenage daughter, Maggie, had originally planned to run the Rise & Shine race in 2014 as part of their training for the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in Florida. The mother-daughter duo never got the chance to compete together that year after a biopsy revealed Maggie had Stage IV colorectal cancer, which had metastasized to her lungs and liver. The next two years were spent fighting Maggie’s cancer through intense chemotherapy and surgeries.
She has inspired me to complete a half-marathon in 2016 when I couldn’t even run an entire 5K without walk breaks in 2015. Running has almost a mystical ability to empower one who is willing to work at pushing their limits. I realize I enjoy seeing a finish line,” said Hanberry.
Now, nearly two years later, Maggie is cancer-free, and she and her mom are preparing to cross the finish line they never got the chance to cross before. Hanberry said this year’s race is especially important, as it will be the first year she and her daughter compete together – Maggie in the 5K and she in the half-marathon.
Event Organizer, Susan Yarrow says, "It started out on the trace we have moved it to a road race, we started out with 200 runners, we anticipate 800 runners this year, so it continues to grow."
Participants still have time to sign up for the race on Saturday April 2. All proceeds will go towards the ARC of Southeast Mississippi, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals with intellectual and development issues.