Back in April we introduced you to WYSK Julie “Marathon Goddess” Weiss, the 42-year old mother of two from Santa Monica, who completed 52 marathons in 52 weeks, in honor of her father who died of pancreatic cancer. Not only did Julie inspire many of us, she also inspired a young girl named Avery Kertes, aka Little Avery Runner.
Avery, a 7-year old girl from San Francisco, with a smile the size of Texas, has joined Julie’s quest to bring awareness to and raise money for pancreatic cancer. Avery has committed to running one 5K race a month, for twelve months, with the goal of raising $10,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) by May 2014.
We had a chance to catch up with Avery and her mom Julie Kertes to learn more about what drives this little girl’s unwavering promise and passion.
More About Little Avery Runner
How did Avery come to know “Marathon Goddess” Julie Weiss?
Julie is Avery’s inspiration. We came to know about her through PANCAN and we thought since Avery loved running so much, this is something she might also want to do, but on a much lesser scale!
We then got to meet Julie at the Los Angeles Purple Strides 5K race and we were inspired even more by her positive outlook, drive and dedication. Julie actually joined Avery at one of her races and they crossed the finish line together. It was really special for Avery.
When did Avery start running?
Avery showed an interest in running when she was just 4-years old. She ran about a mile before I had to stop her. I thought it might be too much for her. About a year later, she insisted on joining me on a run, so my husband followed close behind in the car. She ended up running three miles with me, all the time with a big smile on her face.
What is her motivation for supporting pancreatic cancer?
My girlfriend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of this year, but thankfully, she caught it early enough to be able to have surgery and is on her way to recovery. Avery tells people that she is running so that “mommy’s friend can stay healthy”.
What’s Avery’s training like?
We squeeze in a short mile or mile-and-a-half run a couple times per week. It’s usually to a Starbucks or the Farmer’s market. We get in a training run while running an emission-free errand. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone!
There are so many 5K/10K races that support great causes and my husband and I thought that if she enjoys running so much, she will have fun, while giving back to the community.
What are some of Avery’s other favorite things to do?
Avery is a mean hula-hooper! She also enjoys hula dancing, swimming, art and playing with her sisters.
“Running makes me happy. It makes me feel good to do a good deed. I want the disease to go away so the people who have it can have a better life.”