One runner in Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon wasn't concerned with getting off to a fast start. In fact, she'd agreed to start slower than anyone.
As part of Transamerica's Tomorrow Makers program, the designated "Tomorrow Chaser" in yesterday's Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon waited in the corrals until every single participant had left the opening gates before beginning her run. For every runner she would eventually pass by the end of the race, she would earn $1 toward a charity of Transamerica's choosing.
For a challenge this steep, however, Transamerica wasn't about to recruit any person just jogging around the neighborhood. They went out and recruited accomplished runners—athletes like Leslee Hoey, a former Penn State University track and cross-country standout. In other words, they wanted someone who could raise some serious money.
"I live right near a Transamerica employee, and he told me about this program," Hoey recalls. "He told me he could get me into the San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and since my brother lives in San Francisco, it works out perfectly."
Not only did she get to visit with her brother, Hoey finished second among all female competitors in the event. "So after the race, Transamerica asked whether I wanted to be a Tomorrow Chaser."
On Sunday, Leslee ran for Philly Achilles, a local chapter of an organization that endeavors to allow all types of people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics. In fact, a couple of Philly Achilles' members ran in Sunday's event along with Leslee.
"The first Achilles Track Club was formed back in the early-1980s, but our Philadelphia chapter was founded last year," explains Melissa Wilcox, the chapter President for Philly Achilles.
In fact, race day marked the chapter's one-year anniversary. Leslee Hoey took it upon herself to provide their anniversary present.
"It won't be easy—I'm used to running up front," Leslee admitted before the race. "The back of the pack is pretty crowded. But honestly, my goal is to run as hard as I can, and pass as many people as I can to raise as much money as possible."
Yesterday morning, Leslee Hoey was the single last runner to leave the starting gate… but in the end, she—and Philly Achilles—may have been the race's biggest winner. When all was said and done, Leslee had earned $11,551 for the local chapter, passing more than half the field while finishing in a time of 1:33:06.