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Wisconsin women’s goal: Run 5Ks in 50 states

Reindeer Dash draws them to Andalusia

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

A group of four women from Wisconsin travelled more than 900 miles to participate in Saturday’s Red Nose Reindeer Dash, a 5K benefitting the Covington County United Fund.

Three of the four traveled in support of their friend Judith Nantell, whose bucket list is to fun a 5K in each of the 50 states. Nantell has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

After her friends, Sue McFarland, Sue Crawford and Christine Derezinski, found out about her dream, they made it their mission to make it possible for her. They were researching different 5Ks on the site “Running the USA” and searched for one in Alabama because the weather would be much nicer here than where they are originally from in Wisconsin. They flew into Pensacola and spent a few days in Gulf Shores before heading to Andalusia.

Red Nose Reindeer Dash organizers encouraged participants to wear a red nose and antler ears. The women said they enjoy participating in races with themes. Previous races have included in a 5K in San Antonio, Texas, where they were required to wear tutus while they ran. They have also participated in a Rock and Roll Dash and a Sparkle, Shine, and Wine Dash in South Dakota.

When asked about Nantell’s spirit during the past couple of years doing this, Derezinski said, “Plain and simple, she’s a trooper. Even after she had to have surgery because of the cancer, she still gave everything she has and has kept pushing on. I can’t think of a stronger woman.”

Nantell has completed several 5Ks over the year and last year participated in the New York City Marathon.

Whenever asked about if she can handle the stress of it all or if she can achieve her dream, Nantell says, “Try not to dwell on what you can’t do but focus on what you can.”

She will continue to run and already has another 5K scheduled in New Mexico with her son.