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2009 Half Marathon Training Program to Benefit Research into Debilitating Digestive Diseases

Champion Speed Skater and Survivor Urges Marathon Enrollment to Raise Funds

and Hope

NEW YORK, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout September and October, people from around the country can sign up to train for the ING Miami Half Marathon through the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Team Challenge program ( This fund raising program helps the Foundation come closer to finding a cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, painful and debilitating digestive diseases that afflict 1.4 million Americans. Sarah Lang, a retired veteran of the U.S. National Short Track Speed Skating team and digestive disease patient, is asking runners and walkers of all levels from all over the country to consider signing up for the January 2009 event in Miami Beach, Florida. Professional coaches will train participants over 16 weeks in communities all over the country before crossing the starting line in Miami Beach on January 25.

At 29-years-old, Sarah Lang was hospitalized with horrible gastrointestinal pain before receiving a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. She was in her 11th year on the team and training for the 2006/2007 World Cup Season. Nevertheless, she remained positive and competed in the events -- coming in with her best career times and in the top five in the world in one event. "You can achieve something you didn't think was possible before," says Lang, talking from her experience about how a challenge can be managed. "The most important thing is to make the commitment to start and then work through preparation and training. I didn't think I'd be able to skate again after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis but then had the best results of my career."

The Team Challenge program trains participants through weekly training sessions by local professional coaches, along with clinics on fitness, injury prevention, nutrition and other relevant topics. Participants will also be given access to cutting-edge fund raising tools, including a free Web page. Participants commit to raise funds to support research, education, and support initiatives. In exchange for this commitment, they receive free training, as well as transportation to the event, free accommodations, race entry fees, admission to entertainment and events and the opportunity to share a life-changing experience with a group of caring individuals.

After raising over $2 million for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation through its half marathon training program, 509 people crossed the finish line at the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20. Those interested in helping the Foundation can find a local team and sign up to attend an information meeting at

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy ( For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit

SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
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