Thousands race in Donna Marathon to cure Breast Cancer

The "Donna Marathon"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thousands of runners made their way to the Beaches Town Center on Sunday from around the world to take part in the “Donna Marathon.”

The 13th annual national marathon raises funds to cure breast cancer. Since 2003, the foundation has donated more than $3.3 million toward cancer research at the Mayo Clinic.

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Action News Jax spoke to Donna Deegan, after whom the race is named, and who is also running for Congress, after she crossed the finish line.

“I cried and took selfies, and hugged babies the whole way, it was so awesome!” she said.

Sunday’s races included a marathon, half marathon and half marathon relay.

Robert Rankin was the marathon winner.

“I started running in 2012 after my mother was diagnosed,” Rankin said.

Chris McCaffrey took home the men’s half-marathon title for the second consecutive time.

“There’s always adrenaline pumping at the end of the race, but especially this race, it’s for a great cause,” McCaffrey said.

The half-marathon winner on the women’s side, Alli Gregg, also took home a second consecutive win.

“My aunt is a breast cancer survivor and my great-grandmother, who I’m named after, also suffered from breast cancer,” said Gregg.

Runners were cheered on by supporters from the sidelines including Jean Doyle.

“My daughter Beth is running in the race this morning,” Doyle said.

Many of those cheering from the sidelines, like Doyle, had stories of survivorship.

“I had a lobectomy over the summer, July of last year, and today I’m cancer-free, so thanks to the great work that the Donna Foundation does,” Doyle said.

People from all 50 states, and from 12 countries, ran in the race Sunday. The Donna Marathon is a Boston Qualifying course.

Later this year, The Players Donna 5K will return to TPC Sawgrass.