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Running For J.P.

September 11, 2010, 10:59 PM by David Brown

Running For J.P.
SIOUX FALLS, SD - People from all over KELOLAND and across the country will lace up for first-ever full Sioux Falls marathon.  And while thousands will participate in the inaugural event, one special group of runners is competing with some inspiration.

10-year-old J.P. Peters was born with Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, otherwise known as HSAN. It's a deficiency that weakens J.P's immune system. 

"When illness strikes your family and especially your kids, that's something that can be really hard to deal with," his father Jason Peters said.

Peters says his son has been in and out of the hospital over the past two years. So Jason, and a group of 17 others known as Life Runners, will be competing in tomorrow's Sioux Falls marathon...with J.P. on their minds. 

"J.P. often came to me while I was training in my toughest times because I just imagined what he was going through day in and day out and what he endured," Pat Castle, co-founder of Life Runners said.  "And I thought, 'goodness gracious, I'm an endurance athlete?' JP is an endurance athlete."

"The race itself is really just a good time," Peters added.  "It's a time to get together, it's a time to have fun and kind of be together as one big family, but it's the training and the miles and all the prayers that go in before it that really mean a lot."

Jason admits he isn't the fastest runner among this group, but that it doesn't matter. All he and his teammates care about is sending a positive message one step at a time.

"It makes the training, the time that we put in, which is a lot when you're training for a marathon, it makes it more valuable," Castle said.  "It makes it more purposeful, that you're going to put that type of effort into something. And you know it's making a difference in people's lives."

"Our family has been blessed," Peters said.  "We've had a lot of struggles obviously, but our family's been blessed by what we've received from other people around us."

J.P. was in the hospital all last week with an infection, but thankfully, his dad says he was released early Saturday.  And he'll even be at the finish line to greet his father. 

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