Guts & Glory Run and its Co-Founder Have Endured; Scott Patterson of Gilmore Girls…

first_imgDonna Lombard, co-founder and Race Director of the Guts & Glory 5K run, has, as they say, skin in the game. The race/walk to benefit Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) will take place Sunday August 14, at 8:30 a.m. starting near the Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1735 Simpson Avenue.Lombard has a little bit more at stake than the average Race Director.Having lived with Crohn’s Disease for 34 years, endured 30 hospitalizations and two major operations, Lombard doesn’t let her condition or its treatment get in the way of her busy life.  She has three jobs: working for a Law Firm; the Ocean City Recreation Department; and as a Spin Class Master Instructor. All while caring for an elderly parent.Lombard has combined her passion for fitness with a burning desire to aid Crohn’s and Colitis victims. The result is one of the most successful local road races in the region.If that weren’t enough, Lombard landed a major coup when she broke the news Friday that Scott Patterson of the hit television series “The Gilmore Girls” will perform a post-race concert at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.  Check with OCNJDaily later this weekend for concert details and an exclusive interview with Patterson.The certified, traffic-free course features age group awards, T-shirts to all competitors (to race day registrants as supply lasts), online race results, and other runner/walker amenities. Canine participants are welcome, too, Lombard said. Many of the participants run in teams featuring colorful uniforms and funny names to honor individuals suffering from Crohn’s or colitis. Several houses along the race route decorate for the occasion and cheer on the runners.Register online at Pre-registration is $25, $30 the day of the event.“It’s a very festive event,” she said of the out-and-back run/walk, much of which takes place on the Ocean City Bike Path.Additionally, the race will recognize this year’s “honored heroes” the Diederich family of West Chester, PA. and its Guts and Glory “Team 4 Mer” established to honor Crohn’s sufferer Meredith Diederich. Her daughter, 11-year-old Anna, sold lemonade from a stand in front of the family’s Ocean City summer residence to account for part of the more than $130,000 “Team 4 Mer” has raised for the cause.The Guts & Glory Run, which started out as a small community event in 1994, grew to more than 2,000 participants last year and has raised more than $225,000 to benefit Crohn’s research. All proceeds go to the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley chapter, helping local people.  CCFA is a five-star charity, the highest rating for the percentage of funds which actually wind up directly aiding the victims.Donna LombardThe cause is a serious one. Lombard said approximately 1.4 million Americans suffer from the two illnesses. The event is making its impact felt.“We couldn’t do it without the help of Lisa Rumer, from the City of Ocean City, and of course our major sponsor, Edmunds and Associates (a local company that develops software solutions for governments and governmental agencies),” Lombard said.“Nobody likes talking about gastrointestinal diseases and especially their symptoms. But anyone who has suffered with these types of illnesses certainly wants to help find a cure.”Lombard was a 17-year-old high school senior and star athlete at Audubon High School (Camden County) when Crohn’s first struck. It was initially misdiagnosed as food poisoning and Lombard continued to suffer and her weight dropped to 70 lbs. before a doctor suspected Crohn’s and the diagnosis was finally confirmed. Her next stop was the hospital and her first major surgery.last_img

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