NORTH OAKS, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota woman is lacing up her running shoes for the New York City Marathon this weekend and she's had the memory of her late daughter with her every step of the way.
"It's a good time alone to think,” said Jennifer Swenson about running.
For Swenson, running has always been a way to be close to her daughter and even though Marit Swenson passed away last year, this weekend will be no different.
"I know when I'm running I'm going to be thinking about her especially at the end when it is going to be difficult to finish,” Swenson said.
Swenson used to run with Marit whenever they had the chance. In fact, the two were training for a half marathon in Orlando when Marit started getting headaches.
She was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a peach, but even after a successful surgery and radiation, Marit passed away within 6 months.
"Right after she died I wanted to do something to honor her life and her legacy and this opportunity came up and it was something I thought I could do,” said Swenson.
On Sunday, Swenson will run in the New York City marathon to raise money for the National Brain Tumor Society.
About three weeks ago, she went for a 9-mile training run through the streets of St. Paul that spelled out her daughter's name using the GPS on her Fitbit app after reading an article in Runner’s World magazine about a parent who had done something similar.
"There were a few logistical issues but it was great,” Swenson said. “Then I was nervous I would mess up and it wouldn't look like her name but I got it perfect and it was fun."
Swenson says the money raised by her run will be used to fund research on how to treat pediatric high grade gliomas with the mutation Marit had, which basically has a 0 percent survival rate.
She’s doing this in the hopes other kids with the same condition will be able to go the distance in the future.
"I'm excited,” Swenson said. “I'm glad I'm able to honor Marit by running this. I'm sure she's up there cheering me on or laughing at me."