RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Sunday, October 10, runners lined up outside Hardywood Brewery in Richmond for a 5K to benefit ALS research.
The event was inspired by Andrea Peet, a marathon runner and triathlete who was diagnosed with ALS seven years ago.
She hasn’t let that slow her down. The race today, which Peet completed on a recumbent bike, was just a warmup for next week, when she’ll complete a marathon in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“She’s in the process of completing a journey to be the first person with ALS to do a marathon in all 50 states,” said David Peet, Andrea’s husband.
“When I started I never knew if I would make it. The fact that I’m this close is amazing,” Andrea said.
The race was supported by Hardywood Brewery, which also participates in “Ales for ALS,” producing two drinks – Andrea’s Ale and Bob’s Brew – the proceeds of which support ALS research.
Eric McKay, President and co-founder of Hardywood, was a classmate of Peet’s at Davidson College. He said that after brewing the Ales for ALS for five years, “We felt like maybe we could do something else as a way to bring people together and bring attention to what is a pretty brutal disease.”
Patrick Murtaugh, Brewmaster and co-founder of Hardywood, has a personal connection to the cause – Bob’s Brew is named after his uncle.
“My uncle had ALS back about a decade ago and passed away from the disease,” he said. “So it’s definitely something that’s close to me and my family.”
According to the ALS Association, ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease” that gradually kills a persons motor neurons. Baseball player Lou Gherig died of ALS in 1941, and brought national attention to it. ALS is sometimes known as Lou Gherig’s disease.
Peet, like many other people diagnosed with ALS, was told she would likely only survive between two and five years.
“I was shocked and sad, but I knew that I only had a little bit of time. If there was anything I wanted to do in this world, I needed to do it now.”
That was seven years ago – and Peet is closer to her goal now than ever. Next week’s race in New Jersey will be number 44.