On April 16, lifelong Chicagoan, Lawton Warzala will be running in the 122nd Boston Marathon as part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) charity team. This will be his third Boston and his 43rd career marathon.
Warzala’s running career began in 1974 when he won an intramural 1.5 mile race at Gordon Tech High School. His homeroom teacher and hurdles coach, Steve Hunt, invited him to try out for the hurdles team. He tripped over the hurdles and was placed on the distance squad.
This will be Warzala’s third year running for DFCI, which is a comprehensive cancer treatment and research center that conducts community-based programs in cancer prevention, detection and control. Although he lives in Chicago, this Boston-based charity is close to his heart; both his mother, Pola, and his good friend, Humphrey, passed away from cancer.
“I have many friends and family members that have affected by cancer. We all know too many people.” Warzala says. “I feel very lucky to be healthy and able to do marathons, and running on the Dana-Farber Team is my way of giving back.”
Training for a spring marathon in a city such as Chicago presents many challenges, the greatest being weather; after long days of work as a manager at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Warzala says he often is forced to run his long runs in the dark and sub-zero temperatures.
“My goals for this year’s Boston are to set a new personal fund-raising amount for Dana-Faber and attack the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill,” Warzala says. “After, I want to visit the world famous Bova Bakery in the North End. They made best cannoli anywhere and are open 24 hours. Perfect especially during Boston Marathon weekend for a pre or post-race snack.”
Of his 42 marathons, Warzala’s most memorable was at the 1986 Chicago Marathon; he had gone out disco dancing the night before and there was a light rain during the race. He changed from his dancing shoes to his running shoes and ran his personal best of 3:03.
Support Warzala’s goal in raising money for DFCI by visiting www.runDFMC.org/2018/lawton