Lauren Rabaino

Finishing one marathon (26.2 miles) is a remarkable feat. Ultra-marathon runners undergo 60 or even 100-mile runs in their quest for endurance; however, no one has ever attempted the challenge local runner and Cal Poly alumnus Tim Borland is facing this fall: 63 marathons in 63 consecutive days.

Borland, 31, created and is running the first “Cure Tour” in which he will run one marathon each day in 63 different communities across the nation to raise money in partnership with the A-T Children’s Project, a nonprofit organization that raises money to pay researchers to find life improvement therapies and a cure for Ataxia Telangiectasia, Borland said.

Ataxia-Telangiectasia, commonly known as A-T, is a rare genetic disease among children.

“A-T causes relentless loss of muscle control due to brain cell death,” explained Jennifer Thornton, executive director of the A-T Children’s Project, in an e-mail interview.

“Children with A-T are trapped in their own bodies – their minds are vibrant, but their bodies are deteriorating.” Most children with the disease are in a wheelchair by age 10 and do not survive past their teens.

Borland, who ran for the Cal Poly triathlon team for three years, has a history of pushing normal physical limits. He began running in 1998 to lose weight and competed in Wildflower’s half-Ironman the same year.

Since then, he has run 25 marathons and competed in several ultra-marathons, eventually deciding that his faith was prompting him to use his gift for more. “I just got to the point where I felt the desire in my heart and was losing fulfillment in climbing the ladder,” Borland said.

Borland was inspired to create the Cure Tour through his close friendship with fellow runner Jim Achilles, whose daughter Cathryn, 15, has A-T. Achilles ran his first marathon in Florida with Borland as “Team Cathryn,” where the two spent time visiting families who had children with A-T.

“To see Jim putting everything he had into running for his daughter, when you see these kids in wheelchairs, dancing, and parents just broken . the disease decided that,” Borland said.

The pieces just seemed to fall into place as he worked with the A-T Children’s Project in getting the Cure Tour started, although even the nonprofit thought it was extreme at first.

“They thought I was nutty,” Borland said. He wants to communicate that the intention of the entire event is not to prove anything, but rather to raise awareness and money for families suffering from A-T.

The A-T Children’s Project hopes the magnitude of the event will draw attention and support from communities Borland visits.

“If you’re going to get national recognition, you have to do something that has the wow factor,” Borland said. He will be pushing a stroller the entire time, either with a child with A-T or without to symbolize those taken by the disease.

Although some have doubts, the majority of feedback Borland has received is positive.

Cal Poly psychology senior Caitlin Madden has been trying to convince herself to train for a marathon and was shocked to see a poster for the Cure Tour. “I can’t believe one person could do that – your body just isn’t supposed to do that,” Madden said. “I hope he finishes, though.”

The tour will begin in Anaheim, Calif. (Disneyland half- marathon event) on Sept. 3 and finish Nov. 4 at the New York City Marathon. San Luis Obispo, Borland’s hometown, will be his second stop.

There will be a tailgate party at Borland’s alma mater, San Luis Obispo High School, on Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include dinner, a T-shirt and optional 3-mile fun run. A daily blog of the tour and more information can be found at the A-T Children’s Project Web site: www.atcp.org.

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