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Running with spirit

Mary Lee Smaldone, (left) and her sister Lori Noel at the Freihofer's Run for Women last year. Noel died of brain cancer in February, and Smaldone will be running in her memory in this year’s race on June 2. Photo Submitted.

Mary Lee Smaldone, (left) and her sister Lori Noel at the Freihofer's Run for Women last year. Noel died of brain cancer in February, and Smaldone will be running in her memory in this year’s race on June 2. Photo Submitted.

— “In the first three weeks, we’re basically walking. … Then you just gradually build up to running. … We try to give a lot of support to the women. We have a nutritionist, an injury prevention specialist, and professional trainers that actually do the training,” said Regan, who has been running since 1979.

“The race has a long history in the community. … Women are coming to the sport more and more over the years. In the early days it was for every woman, there were six men. Today, it’s actually 50/50. For the shorter runs it’s 60 percent women, 40 percent men,” said Regan. “It’s really a celebration of women and women’s running.”

A number of charities and organizations are associated the run and the Community Walk that takes place after the race at 12:30 p.m. Charities include The Melodies Center for Cancer at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region, to name only a few. To date, $1.5 million has been raised for charities through the race.

Smaldone feels everyone should “live each day fully because you do not know what’s coming your way.”

One of Noel’s dreams was to write a cookbook. In 2009 she had “Favorites of Friends and Family” published. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the National Brain Tumor Society. The book is still available for $15. For more information on the book, contact Smaldone at mlsaziz@aol.com

For more information on the run, log on to freihofersrun.com.

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