A local woman is participating in the Walt Disney World's Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, a grueling 39.3-mile trek over two days, as a fundraising initiative for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Participants are scheduled to run a half marathon on Jan. 7, 2012 and a full marathon the following day. The two race courses are located at the Walt Disney World theme parks in Florida.
"My plan is to take the half marathon easy and focus my efforts on the marathon," said Jennifer Ray, a senior associate at Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, a Hunt Valley engineering firm.
The 35-year-old Ray lost her mother to Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1988 and her brother to colon cancer in 2008.
"It's a deeply personal issue for me," she said.
Ray has been working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program to practice for long distance racing events that raise money for the organization.
She said the nonprofit provides trainers and mentors to train participants. Ray has previously been involved in the 2010 Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and the 2009 Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
"A lot of people who participate in these sort of races do so in honor of someone," she said. "Anybody can do it."
So far, Ray has raised $3,700 for the group for this event. She has also raised money for cancer research through the fundraising efforts of the Northern Baltimore Junior Chamber of Commerce of which she is a member.