Nicole Moscowitz running to help cure Crohn’s

Most of the 25,000 participants in Sunday’s ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon will be running to attain the personal goal of a time on the clock.

But Nicole Moscowitz is one of thousands who will be running on behalf of someone else.

Whenever she feels sore or tired during her 13.1-mile race, she will think of her daughter, 5-year-old Kate, and what the little girl endures all day, every day.

“I hope that someday Kate can know a life without chronic pain,” Moscowitz said. “I run for a cure.”

At age 2, Kate was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. She has endured multiple hospitalizations, but with the aid of immuno-suppressant medication she has adapted well and attends school, plays tennis and soccer and likes to sing and dance.

“She is a strong kid who doesn’t complain,” Moscowitz said

Moscowitz joined the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s Team Challenge Program to raise awareness and funds. Kate was named an Honored Hero by the program. After recruiting runners for two years, Moscowitz decided to run herself and began training in August.

“As a parent, you often feel helpless,” said Moscowitz, 37, who lives in Weston. “Now I feel like I’m actually working toward a goal. For runners with Crohn’s and colitis, finishing the race is a huge goal.”

For Moscowitz and many other runners, a big race is a chance to challenge themselves in a setting that demonstrates will, determination and the banishment of obstacles. Their struggle is symbolic of the ones to cure cancer, wipe out hunger and overcome disabilities.

They will run wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their message or with a photo tucked into a shoe.

Fundraising is a major driver of registration. About 18 percent of the ING Miami runners represent a charity or cause.

“Because of the economy, a lot of nonprofits have experienced a decline in donations,” said race director Dave Scott, who directs events across the country for U.S. Road Sports and Entertainment. “They have to reach out and find other means for their fundraising, and that often leads them to endurance running. There is a correlation between the growth of running in general and charity running. They go hand in hand.

“We feel it gives us an opportunity to share in the local community.”

The Miami event will include teams and individuals fighting autism, leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, homelessness, drug addiction, poverty in Haiti and malnutrition in Africa.

Team Yachad, which represents the Orthodox Union of synagogues, expects to have 180 runners in Sunday’s race, and each has raised $3,000 for the agency, which helps people with learning and developmental disabilities. Within Team Yachad is Team L’Chaim, a group that has raised $64,000 and is running to honor a young father who died in May. Team Goldstein is led by J.J. Goldstein, a 17-year-old with Down’s syndrome who raised $16,000 last year.

Moscowitz and her teammates have each raised a minimum of $1,800. Now comes the culmination of months of effort. She is concerned about whether her injured ankle will hold up.

“I’ll be thinking of Kate,” Moscowitz said. “She’s my inspiration. She keeps me going.”

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