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Former Army Officer Runs for Injured Vets

McMurrough running in the New York City Marathon.

McMurrough running in the New York City Marathon.

By: Michael Izzo

Name: Micaela McMurrough
Age: 34
Hometown: New York, New York
Occupation: Attorney
Team Reeve event: 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

This won't be Micaela McMurrough's first marathon; far from it, actually. At 34, she has run marathons in Berlin, Paris, and New York City. In June 2010, she had the fastest women's time, 10th overall out of nearly 400 finishers, in the Lake Placid Marathon. All this after playing college basketball at West Point, serving in the United States Army, and getting her law degree.

But this October, McMurrough will find the time to run for Team Reeve in the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

"This is my way to give back to the veterans and raise awareness," explains McMurrough. "A lot more people are surviving these wars and you end up with people that have debilitating injuries, needing rehabilitation and assistance. I think that's what the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is about."

Water cooler connection
McMurrough first learned of Team Reeve after talking with Alexandra Reeve-Givens, Christopher Reeve's daughter, when they both worked at the same law firm. "I learned a lot about the Foundation's work with the defense department related to spinal cord injuries suffered in combat," says McMurrough. "I decided I wanted to run this year in Chicago for another charity that helps with veterans."

An 'elite' goal
After running competitively in high school, McMurrough put it on hold to play basketball in college. Upon joining the Army, she got back into running, completing four marathons early on before being deployed to Afghanistan, which made it difficult to train. Following the Army, she began law school, and two years ago she began to seriously train and race again. In the past year and a half, McMurrough has run three marathons, with one more to go before Chicago in October. "I've started getting competitive and my time kept dropping," she says, as evidenced by her Lake Placid victory.

McMurrough calls training a challenge, but not too difficult. She does her long runs in Central Park, while training on the treadmill during the week. That, in addition to the other marathons she has ran recently, she says, should be more than enough preparation for the Chicago Marathon.

McMurrough is a member of the

McMurrough is a member of the "Elite Development Program."

McMurrough's goal for the race is to finish in less than three hours, better than her New York City time of just over three hours. Being a part of the "Elite Development Program" will help her. Originally called the "Top 100," this group is comprised of the top 50 amateur men and top 50 amateur women in the race. It allows them to start right behind the elite runners, putting them in the best possible position for their finishing time.

One more goal she adds, "There's nothing I would like more than to come across in the top 100 women wearing a Team Reeve jersey."

Having fun fundraising
As for her fundraising objective, she is setting her sights high. After outperforming her target of $5,000 in New York City, McMurrough is aiming for $10,000 in Chicago. She thinks that if she runs well in races leading up to it, the goal is attainable. "The kindness of strangers always amazes me," she says.

When asked whether she found fundraising or training more challenging, McMurrough said the two go hand in hand. "When I am running for a cause, training takes on much more meaning," she says. "When I have people behind me who are giving their time, money, and attention to the causes that I find worthy, I feel more focused and train harder. The more commitment I get from my family and friends, the more responsibility I have to run well."

On her birthday, September 20, McMurrough plans to host an event to raise donations for her upcoming run. "I can't think of a better way to celebrate," she says.

Look for Micaela McMurrough and the rest of Team Reeve in the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th.

To raise money to help and assist veterans and other people living with spinal cord injury, make a donation for McMurrough's run by going to her donation page.

Learn more
Inspired by Micaela's story? Want to join Team Reeve? You don't have to be an athlete to become a member. Click here
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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders