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Ready to run up Empire State

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:00 pm

John Copeland found a way to run the concrete jungle trails of New York City.

The 2003 Beloit College graduate will participate in next month’s Empire State Building Run Up.

Runners will climb the 86-storied building and a portion of them will be raising money for cancer research.

Sponsored by the New York Road Runners, the annual race is normally invite-only and is very hard to enter, as a lot of the participants are international.

Copeland, 31, an avid runner, got his shot after he contacted the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation about the race. The foundation is sponsoring the race this year and will have 100 runners in the mix.

Copeland is no stranger to running having competed in several marathons and races in the last 16 years. A South Beloit native and graduate of North Boone High School, Copeland started running as a teen.

After graduated from Beloit College in 2003 he moved to Maine and worked on building hiking and biking trails all over the United States.

“As soon as I left Beloit I wanted to get back outdoors,” he said. “I got involved in Appalachian Trail Club. “

He won The Grizzly Half Marathon in Montana in 2007 and came in fifth in a 50K race at Bear Mountain State Park in 2012.

Now a copywriter and communications consultant living in New York, there aren’t very many natural trails to run. So, Copeland had to find a different approach.

He first ran a stair competition last winter in lower Manhattan. Starting in 80th place, Copeland finished in sixth place in the overall time category, climbing the steps in about 7 minutes.

“Stair climbing season kind of supports my trail running interests,” he said. “I figured out that I sort of had the knack for this.”

Training for a stair run isn’t all that different than training for a trail run in the summer.

“If I’m training on the stairwells it allows me to train for mountain runs for the summer,” he said. “In the summer its all about volume.”

Running volume that is. Copeland said it’s all about forming a base and moving up the amount you run.

He averages about 8 miles per day and can get as high as 70 to 80 miles per week. Copeland is hoping to finish the 1,500 plus steps of the Empire State Building in less than 13 minutes.

“It’s just my thing,” he said about running. “It’s been my baseline for many years. I moved around the country and it’s been sort of my one constant.

Running always him to clear his head and “think things out,” he said.

He found out he was going to run up the Empire State Building in November and has since packed on about 10 pounds of muscle.

After he was accepted into the race by the foundation he looked into the research that they were conducting.

Myeloma is a rare blood disease similar to leukemia in that it affects the red blood cells in the body.

“I don’t necessarily know anyone that has leukemia, but there has been cancer in my immediate family,” he said.

Each runner for the foundation has their own donation page with information about themselves and why they are running.

According to Copeland’s page, found at, he’s raised about $575 in donations.

The foundation will compete in teams of three for two awards that deal with fundraising and time. The “Spirit of Giving Cup” is given to the team with the highest fundraising total and the “NYC Triumph Cup” goes to the team with the fastest combined times.

Awards are also given out to the fastest individual male and female. To donate to Copeland’s run visit his page and scroll down near the bottom.

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