May 31, 2022 / Community,Race

Race Athlete Spotlight: Theresa Velykis

Running for her son, Jacob, Theresa Velykis immediately joined the Race to End Duchenne.  She joined the team at the United Airlines Rock n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in 2022!

Meet Theresa

Why did you choose to join the Race to End Duchenne team?

My six-year-old son, Jacob, was recently diagnosed with Duchenne. As a parent, receiving this kind of diagnosis for your child can make you feel completely helpless. The same day we received the diagnosis, I learned about the Race to End Duchenne team while visiting the PPMD website. Combining my passion for running with a fundraising effort that will directly impact my son has given me hope. 

How many races have you participated in?

This was my first with the Race to End Duchenne team, but I have participated in numerous races from 5Ks to ultramarathons – and most distances in between 🙂.

How do you prepare for races?

I usually run anywhere from 3 – 5 days a week, and then do some specific training for whatever race I’m focused on (so lots of hill practice if I know there is going to be significant elevation). I also joined an amazing trail running group several years ago (the Pennypack Trail Runners) which really piqued my interest in the sport and in training for different types of races. Group running can make training much more fun!

Do you have any fundraising and/or training tips or pointers you would share with other runners – either advice someone gave you or you’ve discovered on your own?

With regard to fundraising, I try to talk to as many people as I can about what I’m doing and why it’s important – not just to my family but to thousands of others. It’s not about pressuring anyone to donate, rather it’s about raising awareness and making it personal. Through fundraising for the Race to End Duchenne team, I’ve learned that my village is much bigger than I thought it was and that has been an emotional and humbling experience. The best piece of advice I can give to runners is the same advice I drill into my own brain almost daily – running and racing is about you vs. you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Always look at how far YOU have come from where YOU started.

What will be the first thing you do when you finish your next race?

Give my sweet, beautiful boy a big hug and a kiss. This is for you, Jacob. 

Join Theresa in the Race to End Duchenne

Race to End Duchenne is Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s signature program that raises funds to support our mission to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy. When you join the Race to End Duchenne you are supporting PPMD’s vital work in advancing research, care, and advocacy to help those with Duchenne live longer, stronger lives. Join the team at one of our upcoming races!

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