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Over 100 show for 5k benefit for Janzens

Staff writer

In an event that typically sees “two or three dozen” participants, a charitable cause prompted an outpouring of more than 100 runners to Marion County Lake for a 5k on the morning of Old Settlers’ Day.

Steve Janzen will head to Dallas in a week to continue treatment for his stage IV pancreatic cancer. Janzen was accepted into a clinical trial Monday and will spend a week there receiving treatment.

But on Old Settlers’ Day, the annual 5k, which was not run last year, was run again to benefit Janzen’s Crushing Cancer campaign. Eighty-six preregistered for the event, and more than 20 showed on the morning of to register, many of whom were former students of Janzen’s.

“Today I’ve seen kids I haven’t seen for years, kids I had in school 30-some years ago,” he said. “It’s been unbelievable.”

Shannon Tajchman came up with the idea to run the 5k in Janzen’s honor.

“He was my junior high track coach and English teacher, and everybody loved him,” Tajchman said.

Tajchman talked with Janzen’s daughter, Rachel Thalmann, about doing the 5k in his honor. Thalmann was hesitant, but the pair brought the idea to Marion Recreation director Margo Yates. Yates’ response to the idea?

“Yeah. Come on,” Yates said. “I was just glad to have them ask if we could do it.”

“She’s done this race for so long,” Thalmann said, “so she just knew what to do after that.”

While most of the runners knew Janzen, some did not. Donna Spoonmore of Hillsboro said she had run the 5k before, but it had a special meaning this time around after her son died in April from cancer.

She came up after finishing the race and told Janzen her story, wishing him well in his fight.

“That’s incredible,” Janzen said. “It helps for sure.”

Last modified Oct. 2, 2014

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