Rich Webb has been racing for almost a year in an effort to raise money and awarness to fight Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis and lupis.
His races have taken place all over Utah and one day he hopes that he will be able to start his own foundation in honor of his late mother and friends daughter.
During the course of his life Rich Webb, a Utah native, encountered two tragedies that ended up changing everything for him.
First his mother, who had struggled with Lupis disease all her life, passed away, followed by his friend's baby who died only weeks after birth of Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare blood disease. While the combination of these two events took a deep toll on Rich, they also left a lasting impression that has motivated him to help others.
"The tragedies really left me feeling kind of empty for a while, but then I decided that I should do something to help those like my mom and my friend's girl," said Mr. Webb.
Rich eventually decided that one thing he could do to help was raise money. And although raising money even for a good cause is never easy, Rich knew he could do it.
To accomplish his goals Rich began to run marathons and other events like Iron Mans to gather donations which in just a few months have added up to well over $4,000 for the Lupis foundation.
Money however is only part of the plan, because his efforts will also increase awareness, not to mention push him to his physical limits.
"When I first started and got the Web site up (www.richwebbracing.com) the money didn't just start coming in, I had to go promote it," he said.
Most of the races he has run have been in Utah and when he stopped by the Sun Advocate he was on his way to the infamous San Rafael Swell to run in the Little Grand Canyon Marathon. According to the results, he took second place overall with a time of 3:14:33 for the 26.2 mile long race.
Placing well however, still takes a back seat to his ultimate goal of forming his own charity and helping those who are less fortunate.
Rich started running marathons when a girlfriend got him into the sport and while it's only been about two years since he started he has progressed very quickly in the field.
"Some of my inspirations are definitely David Scott, and Lance Armstrong's book had a huge impression on me," said Mr. Webb.
In terms of his sporting goals Rich indicated that he would like to qualify for one of the big world championships next year in 2010, but for now he has been steadily bettering his times across Utah.
When he's not running , Rich works as a general contractor in Salt Lake, but he participates in races across Utah and the United States wearing his jersey dedicated to his mother and his friend's daughter Sedona Rose Blair.
So far his running mileage goal for 2009 is about 433.3 miles which is over twice the width of Utah.
Regardless of distance Rich feels that he can accomplish his goals. With a little luck he should be able to raise the money and awareness that he set out to, through marathons, Iron Mans and other competitions.
For donations to HLH research please make checks out to UCSF pediatric oncology research fund for the HLH research fund.
For donations to the Lupus Foundation please note their address and/or link as follows: Lupus Foundation of America.
Both of these organizations have helped raise money for research that will hopefully one day find cures for both diseases.