Have you ever been in the presence of someone whose role in life is greater than they had ever expected? Those who know Elizabeth Shuman have had this experience. A Madison native, Liz is the inspiration for OutRUN 38, a charitable organization started by her childhood friend, Nicole Crettella Burke. The goal of OutRUN 38 is to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), promote healthy living, and give strength to CF sufferers. What started as a small group of runners raising funds (and hope) for one woman has quickly turned into a movement.
It has also taken two amazing women on the ride of a lifetime. Diagnosed at age 7, Elizabeth was not expected to live past the age of 12. That was over three decades ago. In addition to CF treatments, Liz beat the odds by embracing a running/walking/biking/healthy-living regimen at her own pace. Her profound love of running, above all fitness activities, has not only kept Liz healthy, but also made it possible to forego a lung transplant. Deeply moved by Liz’s perseverance, her lifelong friend Nicole (also from Madison) was determined to celebrate Liz’s miraculous 38th birthday. With Liz in the hospital at the time receiving treatments, Nicole had the idea to establish OutRUN 38. It was a cause to benefit not only her friend, but also many other brave CF sufferers. Within 12 hours of announcing its formation in 2014, more than 1,000 people had joined up to participate.
Now a global movement with over 5,000 members and 300,000 global miles, OutRun38 is pushing the limits of what non-profits can be. Delivering hope to the 70,000 people worldwide born with this genetic disease, OutRUN 38 is helping to advance research, medications, and therapies needed for others to adopt a “healthy sick’ lifestyle. Participants—known affectionately as “outrunners”—enter the miles they walk/run for CF at the website, OutRUN38.org. The website also offers a wealth of information about CF. The Facebook page has inspiring photos and stories about the growing OutRUN 38 community. Advocating for healthy living—or ‘healthy sick,’ to use Liz’s term—Outrun38 has truly taken on a life of its own. For Liz herself, a Madison halfmarathon is in sight, and she’s training hard. She’s running and breathing for children with CF whom she holds dear in her heart, and is a huge advocate for. A common expression of OutRUN 38 members is, “We run for those who can’t.” It’s used to inspire people to get up and get moving for CF.
To be part of this extraordinary movement, visit OutRUN38.org, or head over to their Facebook page, become a participating member, and log some miles. Whether swimming, biking, running, or jogging, the goal is finding a cure. Let’s all be there for Liz when she crosses her next finish line, in October at the Madison Half Marathon. Hopefully one day CF will no longer stand for Cystic Fibrosis, but for “Cure Found” thanks to these efforts.