Step by Step from San Francisco to New York: UB Student plans to run across the country for cancer research
Patricia Lorquet is spending her free time running 4,000 miles this summer because of an advertisement she found while going through her Instagram feed.
The avid runner was searching for a new race to participate in, when she stumbled upon an advertisement for the“4k for Cancer.”
The run is raising money for the Ulman Cancer Fund, which works to help young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer through a variety of support programs. These programs range from arranging care packages for patients going through treatment to opportunities for patients in remission who want to get back in shape, along with other emotional support programs.
The runners themselves will also be participating in outreach programs throughout the course. They will be touring a cancer center and making care packages for patients.
Lorquet, a junior biology major, decided on this race because her family has a long history with cancer. When Lorquet was only seven years old, she lost her 17-year-old cousin to Leukemia. She doesn’t have any memories of him before he got sick, but she hopes this run will be a way to honor the memory her family remembers so fondly.
“[My cousin] was 10 years older than me so I really don’t remember our relationship that much, but from what I’ve heard from family members he was a happy and caring kid,” Lorquet said.
Her own family was a little more reluctant to let her participate.
“They were hesitant at first in the sense that I was going to be with strangers for 50 days, they didn’t realize it was so organized,” Lorquet said. “They found comfort in knowing that we would be safe throughout the journey because of the structure of the organization.”
The “New York Team” of 30 runners will be traveling from San Francisco to New York City on foot for 40 days, from June 15 to Aug. 5.
Anna Blatto, a junior social sciences major, has been a close friend of Lorquet’s for nearly three years and has always been impressed with her determination.
“Pat's kind and ambitious nature never fails to impress me, however this run is probably the most ambitious thing she's done in the time I've known her,” Blatto said. “The dedication, passion, and drive she demonstrates every day in anticipation of this, on top of the responsibilities of school and other commitments, is truly incredible.”
Lorquet is no stranger to long-distance. She has been running since her junior year of high school in a scholarship program called Run for the Future, sponsored by the New York Roadrunners.
“I wasn’t a runner at all, but the program is oriented toward girls going into their senior year running their first 5k by the end of the program.”
Since her work with Run for the Future in high school, Lorquet has participated in a variety of 5k races and hopes to run the New York City marathon in November. Lorquet relies in part on Zachary Barnwell, her coach through Run for the Future and her mentor.
Barnwell believes Lorquet is up to the challenge; her self-discipline is something he admires.
“Patricia has shown her interest and strength in distance running,” Barnwell said. “This sport challenges people to set long term goals, and learn to pace oneself to complete such distances. Patricia has done great so far and I have no doubt she’ll excel this summer.”
Barnwell has known Lorquet for four years. He trained with her for two years, then watched as she entered the program as a mentor. Barnwell watched as Lorquet grew and improved as a runner.
“As a coach in Run for the Future I have shared my resources in the sport with Patricia,” Barnwell said. “But in all reality, she has taken the strides to push herself to the next level, continuing what she learned in the program and applying it to outside the sport and within.”
Lorquet has been training for four months for this summer’s run, balancing a full course-load with the training schedule the organization provides. The schedule becomes more intense as the runners approach their start date.
For the month of April, Lorquet is running about 21 miles each week, along with two days a week of cross training.
“I've been good with staying on top of it in the sense that I go in-between classes to train during the week.” Lorquet said. “I know there are days I really don’t want to run, but once I go out for the run I feel so accomplished and I feel so much better after.”
Lindsay is the assistant features editor and can be reached at Lindsay.Gilder@ubspectrum.com.