NICOLA TASOFF and Jamie Adams-Ford are teachers and friends. Despite their hectic schedules, they find time to run.
On Sunday, the South Jersey residents will take in the morning sights in the 33rd annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Tasoff is the "veteran" Broad Streeter: This will be her second 10-mile jaunt down Broad Street. Adams-Ford is making her Broad Street debut.
Tasoff's advice for her friend is "just enjoy it and take it easy. It's a little breathtaking at first to be surrounded by so many people."
Both teach at Pleasantville Middle School. Tasoff, 42, teaches seventh-grade mathematics to special-needs students. Adams-Ford, 38, instructs kindergarten through fifth-grade students in English as a second language.
"It's a tough age: They're going through a lot," Tasoff said. "By eighth grade, it becomes a little easier."
Tasoff says she was drawn to teaching because she enjoys helping children.
"I love the look on their faces when they discover something new," she said.
One reason both entered the Broad Street Run is that the race benefits the American Cancer Society. Adams-Ford's father, Gary Adams, has been diagnosed with cancer. The Ocean City resident is dedicating her Broad Street appearance to him. Also, her former husband, Nick Dimiglio, the father of her three children, died of cancer at age 36.
Tasoff knows several Pleasantville teachers who are dealing with the disease. The Mays Landing resident is dedicating Sunday's race to Bill Martin, a teacher who is back in school after battling cancer.
Tasoff's mother, Geraldine Gullo, died from colon cancer.
Following Dimiglio's death, Adams-Ford and her children became involved with Gilda's Club. The club was started by Gilda Radner's husband, Gene Wilder, after Radner, the popular "Saturday Night Live" cast member, died of cancer in 1989 at age 42.
Tasoff ran her first marathon last November in Philadelphia. Illustrating what kind of friend Adams-Ford is, when Tasoff returned to her home, there was a banner across her garage reading, "Congrats Nicola: 26.2 didn't stop you."
The banner was created by Adams-Ford, her children Teagan, Jaden and Dylan, and her husband, also named Jamie.
Tasoff and Adams-Ford prepared for Broad Street with St. Patrick's 10-miler in Margate, N.J. Unfortunately for Adams-Ford, she suffered shin splints in the race and has been undergoing treatment.
What do her physical therapists think of her running Broad Street Sunday? "They said 'Come see us when you're done,' " she said. "I have a Monday appointment."
After completing the past three Broad Street Runs, Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson is skipping Sunday's race. She injured her right hip last November and hasn't trained the way she normally would.
"I couldn't run for 3 months," Slawson said. "I run at St. Joe's track. After about a mile, I felt a little tug in my hip. I thought, 'No big deal, I'll run through it.'
"After another mile, I limped off the track. I was in so much pain, it was ridiculous. By the time I got to work, I could barely get out of the car. I didn't go to the doctor for 2 1/2 to 3 weeks." She was diagnosed with a major pulled muscle.
Slawson stresses that runners should listen to their bodies to prevent serious injuries.
"We want people to enjoy the race," she said, "but please stop [if there is a problem]. Do the opposite of what I did."