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Monday, June 24, 2019

Schwalbach runs from Dayton to Cincinnati for Alzheimer’s cause

Fort Thomas man continues series of ‘Jackie’s Run’ endurance runs 

Averaging a full marathon a day for an entire week is a challenging feat for even the most experienced ultra-marathoner. Over the past five years, Steve Schwalbach of Fort Thomas, has successfully completed a number of multi-day state runs, all in honor of his late mother, Jackie, and to help raise funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

After running the state of Kentucky in 2014, Ohio in 2015, Florida and Rhode Island in 2016 and across California in2017, Schwalbach ran 85 miles (Dayton to Cincinnati) in a single day last year in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day.

This past weekend, Schwalbach successfully ran 100 miles from West Carrollton, Ohio to Fort Thomas in just over 30 hours, again in support of The Longest Day.

The last mile, he was joined by some Fort Thomas residents and first responders.

For Schwalbach, the idea for “Jackie’s Run,” came from wanting to do something to help his mother, who was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001.

“It started about six years ago as I was visiting my mother, Jackie.  I was thinking, ‘what can I do to help her?’” She had been bedridden for more than two years,” he said. “I was saying prayers that had no answers. It was heart breaking to see my mother like this. I knew she was not in pain but I was watching the mother that raised me and my five brothers and sisters slip slowly into death from this awful disease.”

Schwalbach said that while on a training run for an upcoming marathon that night, the idea came to him.

“I was thinking about what I could do. I’m not a doctor or research scientist who could develop a new drug. I’m just a construction worker and a runner. As I ran, an idea popped into my head. I would run the state of Kentucky for Alzheimer’s and raise money and public awareness throughout the state of Kentucky. The more I thought about this idea, the more excited I got on my run. The tears turned into a smile on my face.”

Although the state’s hilly terrain made the run even more difficult than Schwalbach anticipated, he completed the run on schedule. In addition to raising more than $15,000, Schwalbach’s run generated interest from print and broadcast media in Kentucky and Cincinnati.

Just a few days after completing his state-long run in Kentucky, he was contacted by two runners from Ohio who heard his story through media reports. They asked him if he wanted to run 328 miles across Ohio for the Alzheimer’s Association in May of 2015. Schwalbach agreed to the Cleveland to Cincinnati run that took place during eight days in May.

About 45 days before the start of the Ohio run, Schwalbach’s mother died in Florida. Since then, his runs have been in her memory. Over the past five years, Schwalbach has raised more than $50,000 in donations to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For details on Jackie’s Run this Saturday, visit or Facebook – Jackies Run.

Today, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 5.8 million Americans. The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati serves 37 counties in Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana with a variety of programs and services, most of which are free of charge.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit or call our 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

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