CALDWELL, NJ — Caldwell TEAM R4C (Running for a Cure), participating with Team in Training (TNT) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) for the ninth consecutive year, is hosting an informational meeting at Cloverleaf Tavern on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. for those interested in participating in the New Jersey marathon, half marathon, relay or 5K on April 29 and 30, 2017.

TNT is the world’s largest charitable endurance sports training program and has raised more than $1.4 billion for the LLS by training more than 600,000 athletes nationwide for this event. Co-captains Carolynn O’Brien and Jesus Navarro, Caldwell residents who started the team nine years ago after O’Brien’s brother-in-law was diagnosed, said their New Jersey-area running group has raised nearly $400,000 for blood cancers in the last eight years and encourage area runners to help them continue the tradition.

“My brother-in-law was on his second round of chemo and that particular time got really scary,” said O’Brien. “We just felt so helpless for my nephews and niece and my sister. I happened to find a TNT brochure on my desk and I said, ‘This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to run a marathon.’”

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What O’Brien and Navarro didn’t realize at the time was that their brother-in-law had previously run in the same event, and so it was only fitting that they start a team. Initially, the team consisted of three runners and now includes more than 20 each year.

For five years, TEAM R4C has been the top-fundraising community team for this event.

Team members do not have to be runners to participate. In addition to the full marathon, other options include a half marathon, a relay and a 5K that can participants can either walk or run in. Members also do not have to be from Caldwell.  In fact, TEAM R4C had one member who participated from California by fundraising for TEAM R4C but training with TNT trainers in his area.

“The benefit of choosing to run for TEAM R4C is that we support each other a lot in the fundraising and then at the end of the season, if someone’s a little behind, we help them along,” said O’Brien. “Especially for people who are a little nervous about the fundraising part, it’s better to do it on a team like this where you’ll be supported.”

O’Brien said that even when the team is not training for an event, many team members get together all year round to run as a group. TEAM R4C begins its runs at Cloverleaf Tavern on Sunday mornings and co-captains O’Brien and Navarro help coach, but team members also have the option to train with TNT training coaches at various locations in each county.

“The obvious benefits are that they’re setting a goal, getting in shape and challenging themselves to do something that they’ve never done or always wanted to do,” said O’Brien. “But secondarily, you feel really good that you’re raising money for patients and families who have blood cancers.”

Wednesday’s meeting is intended to be casual and registration is not required on site.

Joining TEAM R4C includes: a comprehensive 4-5 month TNT training program and Race Entry with waived fee; certified coaches and complete fundraising support from TNT and TEAM R4C co-captains; two-day hotel accommodations at Ocean Place Resort & Spa on race weekend; and TNT’s Inspiration pasta dinner the night before the race and Victory Celebration after.

Joining the team also comes with the personal satisfaction that comes from helping patients win their battle against leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

To RSVP to the information meeting at Cloverleaf Tavern on Wednesday, contact Carolynn O'Brien at cobrien@graphics-connection.com

To donate to Caldwell TEAM R4C, click HERE.

To find a race nearby and become part of TNT call (800) 482-TEAM, click HERE or contact a local chapter at 908.956.6643