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Local Runner in Chicago Marathon sponsored by Gaslight Media

May 13, 2006

Petoskey resident Ali Thompson, 24, recently raised hundreds of dollars for AIRO Ministries by competing in this year's Chicago Marathon. Ali's effort, sponsored by Gaslight Media of Petoskey, required months of training, but all for a good cause.

As many runners did, Thompson sent letters requesting support to friends and family raising money for the youth scholarship missions fund of AIRO Ministries. The proceeds were donated to AIRO Ministries in memory of Miriam Behling, a close friend of Thompson who died in a car accident over the summer. Gaslight Media, a local Web development company and Internet service provider was Thompson’s corporate sponsor for the marathon.

Thompson, a former Olympic hopeful who started training in May, said the training put a drain on her social life. She remembers having to keep with her training schedule even though she was on vacation. “There were a few times during the training that I wanted to give up, but I remembered that I was not running for myself, but for Miriam”, says Thompson.

Having never run a marathon before, Thompson became increasingly nervous about participating in such a major event. “I only trained up to 20 miles, and hoped the last 7 miles left would be powered by the adrenaline and excitement of competing.”

The Chicago Marathon is a 26.2 mile course winding through the streets of downtown Chicago. More than 1.2 million spectators line the marathon’s route each year, with some areas lining 4-5 people deep. Thompson remembers passing a nursing home where the elderly people were cheering through the windows at the runners. Thompson was also touched by the runners who ran in celebration of overcoming disabilities. One of the runners that she paced with for a while had written on the back of her shirt “I am running – without – my brain tumor.”

Thompson completed the course in a time of 4 hours 30 minutes and placed 6,389 in the women’s division and 18,751 overall of the 33,027 competitors. “It was a great experience, it reminded me that I can do anything that I set my mind to.” She said she wanted to thank everyone who gave money for AIRO Ministries, and also her sponsor Gaslight Media.

AIRO Ministries is an non-denominational ministry who provides chaplains for hospitals, jails, and prisons as well as coordinates international medical mission outreach. For more information call AIRO Ministries (231) 526-5943, Gaslight Media (231) 487-0692, or on the Internet at:

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