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Father's brain cancer leads student to Chicago Marathon

Physician assistant studies student Erin McClure will compete in the Chicago Marathon Oct. 12. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 8, 2008)   —   East Carolina University student Erin McClure is running in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12 in her father's memory and to raise money for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Erin McClure's father, Gary "Rock" McClure, a 1973 ECU graduate, died of a brain tumor in May 2001. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma when she was a high school senior. She watched her healthy, vibrant father slowly lose his battle with the disease.

"I think that experience will make me a better health care provider," said McClure, a graduate student in the physician assistant studies program in ECU's College of Allied Health Sciences. "Because of that, I'll have a better understanding of what people go through during difficult times."

A classmate, Angela Coton, who is secretary for the PA class of 2009, also will run the 26.2 mile marathon with McClure. Coton is raising funds for the Organization for Autism Research in honor ofher best friend's son, whowas recently diagnosed.

"What gets me through more than anything else is that I've made commitments I want to live up to," McClure said. "I want to prove to myself that I can do it."

McClure's fundraising goal is $1,000 for the American Brain Tumor Association. She will collect donations through Nov. 14. For more information, go to

Coton's fundraising goal is $1,500. She is close to reaching her goal. For more information, go to

McClure is a regular runner but has never run in a marathon. To prepare,McClure and Cotonhave followed a weekly training schedule that varied from three-mile to 16-mile runs and cross training with swimming or riding a bike. They increased their mileage by 20 percent each week, building up to a 20-mile run a couple of weeks ago.

(Editor's note: McClure's timewas 5 hours, 31 minutes and Coton's time was 5 hours, 42 minutes. They raised more than $2,500.)


Contact: Crystal Baity | 744-3764