Father & daughter seek to run 24 hours to fight cancer


Father and daughter runners Nancy Rowe and Dennis Metzler of Coatesville hope to run 24 hours straight in an effort to battle cancer as part of the Central Chester County Relay For Life, this weekend at Downingtown West High School.

DOWNINGTOWN — The 2015 Relay For Life of Central Chester County is the American Cancer Society’s signature overnight fundraising activity   Although they are excited about all the participating teams they are thrilled with the enthusiasm and dedication of Dennis Metzler and Nancy Rowe, a father and daughter ultra-marathon running team from Coatesville, who will each attempt to run the entire 24 hours.

Metzler, age 66, and his daughter, Rowe, are both ultra-marathon runners.

“Dad started running when “jogging” wasn’t even a sport, back in 1972, said Rowe. “ I didn’t start till the 11th grade after I was inspired by the Olympic Games and I ran my first 5k with dad right beside me.” 

Although the typical marathon is 26.2 miles, longer events are gaining in popularity.

“Ultra-marathoning is growing very fast as a sport,” Rowe said. “The main ultra-distances are 50k, 50 miles, 100k and 100 miles. My favorite distance is 100 miles and I have 3 finishes so far. My fastest is 24 hours and 30 minutes. My dream is to break 24 hours, which I am setting my goal to try to do this at the 2015 Relay For Life of Central Chester County.

Metzler and Rowe will be running as solo runners for the entire 24 hours.  This is Metzler’s second Relay For Life and his goal is 85 miles. This will be Rowe’s first Relay For Life and her goal is 100 miles.

“My Aunt Nancy has struggled with breast cancer but is one of the many survivors who has reached remission via treatments and surgery,” said Rowe.  “For the Relay For Life, we are running in the honor of Beth Murphy of Coatesville. She passed away on November 13, 2009, after nine years of fighting breast cancer. She was 46 years old. Beth was my childhood babysitter and idol. I grew up wanting to be like her in every way, from her singing ability, to her athletic ability, to her super long blond hair.”  Rowe went on to say, “My dad was her youth group leader at church for many years as well. Both my dad and I remain friends with her husband, Vernon, to this day. When Beth passed away, Vernon, who will hopefully be present to support us at the Relay, started to run to help deal with the pain of losing Beth. Eventually, he founded a local non-profit called OneRunTogether (oneruntogether.org), and they offer real-life financial and spiritual assistance to local cancer patients in need.”

Metzler and Rowe are determined to make their miles matter and are busy fundraising for the Relay For Life of Central Chester County and will each make a personal donation of $500 to support the event.  Although Metzler and Rowe will be running solo, they will be part of a community of many teams supporting them and reaching their own goals on the track in the fight against cancer.  The event organizers are encouraging community members to sign up to join the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Central Chester County to take place for 24-hours starting on Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. through Sunday, May 17 at Downingtown West High School track.

The Survivor Celebration of Life will be held on May 16 at 6:00 p.m. and the Luminaria Ceremony is also on May 16 starting at 9:00 p.m.

“We are thrilled and excited to have Nancy and Dennis participating with us this year!  Their story is so unique, said Event Chair Dawn Kirsch.  “Their participation adds a whole other facet to the Relay.  I know everyone will be cheering them on throughout the 24 hour period.  They are awe-inspiring in their dedication and passion to their sport, and especially in honoring Beth’s memory in this way.  We wish them both all the very best!”

Relay For Life invites all cancer survivors, friends, family and neighbors to attend. There will be refreshments, entertainment and activities throughout the event. Relay celebrates survivors, remembers loved ones and empowers others to fight back against a disease that affects so many. Come join us and make a difference!

For more info on Relay For Life or to register a team, please contact Amanda Childs at Amanda.Childs@cancer.org or visit www.RelayForLife.org/paccc.

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