Friday, September 1, 2017

Fort Thomas Resident to Run California

Steve Schwalbach running for Alzheimer
Fort Thomas resident, runner, and fundraiser Steve Schwalbach is soon to embark on yet another incredible running journey to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of both his mother, Jackie Schwalbach, and dear friend, Clem Fennell.  Both died from what Schwalbach calls “this awful disease” and their battles with the illness and subsequent deaths led to Schwalbach creating Jackie’s Run” as a way of combining his love of running with his desire to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.  Avid readers may remember last year’s FTM story on Schwalbach, which can be found here.

In 2013, while watching his mother succumb to Alzheimer’s, Schwalbach was also training for a marathon.  During a training run, Schwalbach recalls breaking down in tears with the image of his ailing and bedridden mother stuck in his mind.  He says, “I felt so helpless and started to cry on my run wondering what I could do to help (my mother); then it struck me- I could run the entire state of Kentucky and raise money from people to donate for Alzheimer’s research.”

Schwalbach ran the entire US-27 from Southern to Northern Kentucky over a span of a week.  He raised more than $15,000 from this run.  The following year he and three fellow runners ran 328 miles across Ohio in ten days.  And finally, last year, Schwalbach ran 225 miles over 8 days from Daytona Beach to Lido Beach, Florida and then completed a second run later in the year across Rhode Island.

This year, with a fundraising goal of $10,000 and “the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this disease”, Schwalbach will run from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, tying in Napa Valley along the way.  Schwalbach always tries to pick beautiful scenery to break the monotony of the run and is really excited for the challenge this year that will be presented by the elevation changes; the run begins at 6600 feet, climbs to 8800 feet, and ends at sea level.  To train for these runs, Schwalbach completes 70 miles of running during the week and does 20 miles every Saturday and Sunday.  In addition, he runs marathons throughout the year and hopes to run in the Boston Marathon again soon.

To date, Jackie’s Run has raised more than $40,000 to go toward Alzheimer’s research and Schwalbach hopes to add another $10,000 to that total by September 10, when he begins his California run.  Says Schwalbach, “As a runner, there’s always an adventure every time I do a run like this but I feel very blessed that I can turn my passion for running into a positive experience and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s; that is why I do runs like this.  I’ve seen a lot of suffering with this disease (…) and I hope and pray that one day there is a cure.”

For more information on Jackie’s Run OR to donate to this cause, check out the website at

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