Racing for Elinor Mire

Austin running maven to get a little help from her friends

In 1995, Elinor Mire won the Bob Rodale Golden Shoe Award from Runner's World magazine. The gold-plated sneaker hangs on the wall in her home office, in recognition of her support of the Austin running community. Mire was the race director for such Austin running classics as the Turkey Trot and the Jingle Bell 5K, and created a triathlon program "For Kids Only." Next weekend, the Austin running and triathlon communities are paying Mire back with more than just a trophy. The Circle of Hope Run, inspired by Mire, will be held on Saturday, June 12 at Lake Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park (Decker Lake). The run is also a fundraiser to help pay for Mire's mounting medical expenses.

About three years ago, Mire – who was an active runner and triathlete for 20 years – began to feel tired all the time and had strange pains in her legs that worsened over time, and then her tongue started to enlarge. She saw 30 different doctors before finally being diagnosed with amyloidosis and multiple myeloma, a cancer often associated with amyloidosis. According to the National Institutes of Health, amyloidosis is "a disorder in which insoluble protein fibers are deposited in tissues and organs, impairing their function." It's a rare disease – only about eight cases per million people are diagnosed each year. Its cause is unknown, and its treatment – including chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation – is expensive.

Mire has worked for AISD for 10 years, but AISD insurance refused to pay for the stem cell transplant. Although her disability insurance has now been activated and apparently will cover the procedure, Mire has yet to receive approval to begin treatment. Her friends decided to help raise money to pay for the expenses not covered by insurance. In considering the best way to raise money, the group of friends – all runners and triathletes who have trained and raced with Mire for years – decided to stick with what they knew how to do best: put on a race.

Marion Burch-Cimbala, race director for the Danskin Women's Triathlon (a race Mire directed for three years), offered the triathlon course, and Danskin, RunTex, and other local businesses agreed to cover all the race expenses. Organizers are hoping that hundreds of people will participate in the 5K run and 2K fun run/walk, which start at 8am. To register, and for more info, see www.elinormire.org.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Elinor Mire, amyloidosis, Marion Burch-Cimbala, Circle of Hope Run

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