By: Heidi Schubargo, Komen Columbus Intern
The Komen Columbus Race for the Cure® had more than 25,000 participants this year and of that, around 2,000 that were officially timed. The overall top finisher this year, Jack Schlabig, ran the race in 15 minutes and 43 seconds. The top female race finisher, Laura Kaulen, completed the race in 18 minutes and 42 seconds. The top survivor, Diane McCloskey, crossed the finish line in 24 minutes and 16 seconds.
Schlabig has participated in the Columbus Race for five years. His mom is a breast cancer survivor celebrating ten years from her diagnosis this year.
“I do it to honor and support her,” Schlabig said. “She’s one of the toughest and kindest people I know and a role model for me. This race is a celebration of her survival.”
Although Schlabig typically participates in races because of his passion for running, the Komen Race is much more than that to him.
“This race means a lot to me because I know it means a lot to my mom,” Schlabig said. “I know her and the other breast cancer survivors are some of the strongest people, so any way that I can honor them is important. The race is both a celebration of the survivors and a reminder of the fight against breast cancer.”
Schlabig has a passion for running and runs over 100 miles each week. He is a member of the Columbus Running Company elite team and has goals to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
The top female finisher, Kaulen, has participated in four Komen races throughout Ohio in efforts to help raise money and awareness for those suffering from breast cancer. She does not have a history of breast cancer in her family, but she has seen how it has impacted the lives of friends and coworkers, which made her want to support the cause.
“The Komen Race is different because I feel like I am running for the women who can’t, for the women going through cancer,” Kaulen said. “It’s my way of supporting women everywhere.”
Kaulen stays motivated by finding new ways to challenge herself. She ran the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016 and has run many other 5k races, half marathons and full marathons throughout her life.
“The race is great because I feed off the energy of the walkers, runners and the crowd support,” Kaulen said. “These survivors are stronger than I am.”
Kaulen has been running since high school and loves to stay active and healthy. She is also a mother of three and is a special education high school teacher. She strives to be a great role model for her children and students and says that their faith in her gives her the energy and motivation to keep on running.
McCloskey finished first as a breast cancer survivor and comes from a background where cancer seems to run in the family.
McCloskey was diagnosed after discovering an abnormal mammogram and biopsy in 2004. Two months after she was diagnosed, she had a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation treatment.
“Throughout my diagnosis and treatment, my medical team was fantastic and I received tremendous support from family and friends,” McCloskey said.
This year was the first time that she participated in the Columbus Race, as she was visiting family who lived in town.
McCloskey lives in Arizona and has participated in the Phoenix Race for the Cure since it first started in the 1990’s. She has been a participant before she was diagnosed as well as afterwards. She was the first survivor in the Phoenix race in 2004, which was a week after her last radiation treatment.
“The Komen race is different,” McCloskey said. “I look at it as a way to support a cause that is near and dear to me, not a competition.”
McCloskey has never let breast cancer defeat her and stop her from taking on new challenges. McCloskey loves to run and has been running for over 40 years. She has participated in many triathlons, duathlons, marathons and has competed in many other races.
“My advice to all women is to have annual screening and do your monthly self-checks,” McCloskey said. “For those going through cancer treatment now, my advice is to stay as active as possible, stay positive, and don’t be afraid of seeking and accepting support from others.”
Congratulations to our top finishers!