Passionate Pursuits: Cheryl McPhillips and her “Marathon for Myles”
11/13/12 4:47 PM
By Alicia Jacobs, Excelsior Life News Staff
When Cheryl McPhillips learned the story of a brave 9 year old boy from Delmar, NY, named Myles McAdoo, who had been diagnosed with an incurable brain stem tumor, she wanted to make a difference by contributing in some way, however small. Myles courageously battled his first diagnosis at the age of two, but succumbed to his illness on July 24, 2012 after completing his bucket list of activities and enjoying precious time with loved ones and his twin brother, Marcelle.
As McPhillips, currently the assistant director of institutional effectiveness at Excelsior, became better acquainted with Myles' mom, Laurel, she was overwhelmed by her positive nature, especially in light of the circumstances. So McPhillips decided that raising money for the Foundation would give Laurel a bright spot during a difficult time, and the money raised would support others in similar circumstances.
So she laced up her sneakers and took her passion for running in a new direction... Disney’s Wine & Dine Half-Marathon in memory of Myles. She just completed it on November 10th and raised $1,000 for Myles of Smyles Foundation to help the families of children who are struggling with illness.
Excelsior Life Staff sat down with McPhillips prior to the race discuss her experience.
How did you train for the marathon?
I started running again earlier this year. I trained by running three miles a few times a week and gradually began increasing the length of one run per week in early July. I used the Jeff Galloway half-marathon training plan as a guide. Galloway is a world-class athlete and coach to over 200,000 runners and walkers.
How do you describe your passion for running?
I was always oriented more towards team sports. I'm a competitive person and a slow runner, so running is as much about the mental challenge as it is about the physical challenge for me. I never would have believed I would develop a passion for running, but I suppose I have now.
How did you decide to tie in Disney World?
I was interested in doing a fall race because I knew I needed the time to get back to running after having been out for a year and a half. I'm also not a morning runner and the 10pm start of the race was appealing to me. Finally, if I was going to endure the pain of 13.1 miles, is there a happier place in the world than Disney World to do it? Coincidentally, Myles and his family had gone on a trip to Disney World earlier this year and his mother was thrilled that Disney was our destination for this event.
How much money do you hope to raise?
When I decided that I would raise money for the Myles of Smyles Foundation I really had no idea how successful I would be. Some friends locally had heard Myles' story, others hadn't, but by sharing his story, I have raised almost $1,000 in the past month alone.
Editor’s note: For individuals who would like to learn more about Myles McAdoo, the Albany Times Union published a heartwarming piece just three days after his death this past summer: A Life Measured Not In Years, But in Myles.