Albany Marathon donates to local hospice

Patty Woodall

Patty Woodall

ALBANY, Ga. -- A ceremonial check for $25,000 was presented to Willson Hospice House Wednesday, representing a donation from the 2012 Albany Marathon and Half Marathon.

The donation is $5,000 more that last year's gift, said Rachelle Beasley, race director and manager of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"This check brings the total donations for the six years of the marathon to $120,327.77," said Beasley. "It's an honor to produce an event that brings the community together and invites the world to our doorsteps, especially since the proceeds go to such a vital facility for Albany and Southwest Georgia.

"It's always an exciting time to receive this check," said Patty Woodall, executive director of the 18-bed hospice center. "It started when we were doing the capital campaign to raise money for this beautiful building. I don't think anyone who has been inside isn't amazed at what they see. If you are able to go back and talk with some of our families you'll see they are amazed and so grateful for what we do here. We could not do that if it were not for events such as this and we're truly grateful."

Barry Cohen, marathon chairman, said the event has grown from just 491 runners six years ago to 1,716 runners in 2012, despite rain and even the threat of tornadoes. Cohen said that this year's marathon saw participants from 41 states, Canada, Costa Rica and the Virgin Islands. Plans are under way for the 2013 race with Cohen hoping to register 2,000 runners.

"We need to make sure everyone knows we're a go for next year on March 2," Beasley said. "It's always on the first Saturday in March, so put it on your calendars."

Beasley said she hoped to have registration for the event available by July, as well "the rest of the marathon plans."

"We only get about 30 days of down time after a marathon before we start planning for the next one," Beasley said.