This past weekend, 77-years-young Ron Williams finished his 39th consecutive Chicago Marathon while raising funds for Smile Train. In 1977, Ron ran in the very first Chicago Marathon, and he is one of only seven runners who has completed the race every year since.
Ron said that he ran for Smile Train Team EMPOWER because of his long friendship with Smile Train Medical Advisory Board Member Dr. Alvaro Figueroa and to honor his wife who is currently battling breast cancer.
“I raised funds for Smile Train this year because I wanted to help give children around the world a second chance at life. Smile Train’s model of doing surgeries year-round by training doctors around the world is how they are able to change the lives of so many young people – it’s amazing,” Ron said.
Ron says his longevity is due to his training regimen. His winning formula is to train year-round and to take breaks – he runs for three minutes and walks for two. He says if you pace yourself and train a little every day, “It makes it easy.”
Director of Smile Train’s Team EMPOWER, Sarah Coulam commented, “Ron is the embodiment of a runner’s never-quit mentality and he’s an inspiration for all of our athletes. The money that he’s raised will help to give 25 children born with clefts, the same chance in life as children born without clefts and I know that there is no better feeling than finishing a race knowing that you’ve played a part in helping children around the world smile."
If you'd like to learn more about Ron Williams or to donate to help his efforts, please visit his fundraising page. If you would like to learn more about ways to turn miles into smiles, please visit our Team EMPOWER page. Your support helps children recieve new smiles and second chances at life.