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Many people run marathons, which can take up half a day, but one Concordia coach plans to run for 24 hours straight.

Why?

Cross Country Coach Russ De Lap, 59, is attempting the run in support of one of his students, Lilly Johnson, who was diagnosed with stage 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last May, according to a posting on Concordia's website.

De Lap said Johnson stood out on the track and in the classroom.

When speaking with De Lap, his voice exudes both pride and passion as well as a little worry.  He said he’s going to do his best to last the whole 24 hours, which begins at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 and is part of homecoming activities. Taking into account daylight saving time, De Lap will finish at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.

He said he will run repeated laps around a one-mile road that circles Concordia’s campus. He said he plans to run the whole time, only stopping for a short, few-minute break to refuel or relieve.

Director of University Communications Kali Thiel said Johnson and her family are hoping to be present to run the first lap with De Lap.

“Lilly, if she’s well enough, will ride a bike, or she’ll ride in a golf cart,” Thiel said.

Other supporters are also expected to join in for the first lap, including the possibility of squad cars trailing the group.

Prior to his run, Concordia will host its annual 5K President’s Run at 9 a.m. Proceeds from that run will go to the Lilly Fund, which will help offset costs related to Johnson’s treatment.

Those interested in registering for the President’s Run can do so at imathlete.com/events/presidentsrun.

De Lap also said he’s raising money for the cause as well through crowdfunding. Donations can be made for his run at crowdrise.com/we-run-for-lilly1.  A flat rate can be given or a per-mile rate.

De Lap also said there will be regular updates every few hours on his progress through Facebook Live. Those interested can follow his progress at facebook.com/werunforlilly.

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