Annual Run for Women Race Brings Hope

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by Jake Ryle

ANCHORAGE, Alaska--After 21 years of hitting the pavement for a cause, Alaska's "Run for Women' five-mile race has quickly turned into one of the nation's most successful women-only runs.

Leslie Kleinfeld, owner of "Fit for Health" in Anchorage, has actively participated in the race for eight consecutive years by hosting the yoga warm-up before the races.

"This event holds very personal meaning to me," she said.

For Kleinfeld, the race is so much more than just a five-mile run. It's a chance to remember some of the closest members of her family.

"My grandmother had breast cancer, my mother died of breast cancer, and my middle sister actually died of ovarian cancer," Kleinfeld added.

One common theme from this year's race--hope. Hope comes in the form of more than 7,000 participants in the annual race.

This year's race featured a 1 mile timed and untimed race, a 5 mile timed and untimed race, and a "Party Group" that gave those looking for a fun run a chance to hit the ground running.

While not a runner during Saturday's event--Sitka's Brent Cunningham handed hope in the form of a medal he had received after the crossing the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon over to a girl unable to finish.
 
That girl, started a campaign online to find the man who gave her the medal.
 
"People want hope in the midst of something that's really hard and difficult," Cunningham added.
 
As for Kleinfeld, seeing all of the pink hats at the beginning of the race means so many women have survived and prevailed past cancer.
 
Hope is exactly what you make it--and for 7,000 participants on Saturday it doesn't stop after crossing the finish line.