Boise woman runs for a cause, raises money for Alzheimer's Association

Runner raises money for Alzheimer's Assoc.

BOISE - It's rare that you won't catch Tanya Turner running, whether its on gravel paths, dirt roads, or the streets around Boise.

"The first time I ran a half marathon was right here, it was Robie Creek and I said I will never do that again, and now I've ran over 50," Turner said. "I said I could never do an Ironman, I've done an Ironman."

You can also add 10 full marathons to the list. Three years ago Turner competed in one of Idaho's most famous races - the Sawtooth Relays. Usually, there are six people on a team each running two portions of the 12 leg race.

"I looked at my relay team and said I'm going to do this by myself one year," Turner said.

This is that year. Turner will be one of only five runners allowed to run solo, all 61.9 miles.  

"I've been doing a lot of long races as training runs just so that it's more interesting," said Turner.

Turner doesn't listen to music when she runs, instead she focuses on her feet hitting the ground. 

"And then I pray so that's the other thing that I do," said Turner.

She says a prayer for a different person every mile she runs. For this race there will be one person in particular that she'll be thinking about and praying for: Papa Jim.

"He is famous for his dirty jokes, he's hilarious," said Turner.

He has been battling Alzheimer's since Turner was in junior high, and just a couple of weeks ago he went into a nursing home. 

"Sometimes he'll come in and out," said Turner. "He'll be just the same, and sometimes he'll think my sister is married to my husband or he doesn't remember our names. You know who he once was and it's not him anymore. My grandpa was just the person that could do everything, and so it's just sad."

So for every mile, she will be raising money for the Alzheimer's Association. It all started as an idea to fundraise on the foundation's "Longest Day" event. It's a day where you raise money doing something you love.  

"I'm going to be running for 12 to 14 hours I'm guessing," said Turner. "Having that in my head that's going to pump me up, that's going to fuel me."

The plan is to raise $6,200 or $100 per mile.

"You're not just helping the people with the disease, you're helping the families," said Turner. "That's by far who it effects the most."

Every step of the way, Papa Jim's fighting spirit will be there.

"I think I maybe get that from him I don't know," Turner said.

So far, Turner has raised around $1,300. If you would like to donate to help her reach her goal, click here.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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