By KATE LUDLOW
Mo Paynter decided to start running, in hopes of completing a marathon before her 30th birthday. She soon realized it could have another result – fundraising.
This July, she will travel to Napa Valley, to compete in the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, as part of Team Challenge, the training group for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. For Ms. Paynter, the race is personal.
Her mother, Pam Coone, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in her early teens, and spent a lifetime dealing with the symptoms.
“She got lucky,” says Ms. Paynter. “She was able to have a surgery to correct it while she was in her 20’s. But she still can’t eat spicy foods. But before that, there were frequent trips to the bathroom, it was very embarrassing.”
Colitis and Chron’s Disease are both types of inflammatory bowel diseases that cause extreme abdominal pain. Both diseases result in issues with the body’s immune system.
Ms. Paynter graduated from Liberty Hill High School in 2001. While there, she ran cross-country. She is currently training with Team Challenge, a national program with affiliates across the country. Each Saturday morning, she goes into Austin to run as part of a group at various parks.
“We head to Town Lake, or Mueller Park. We get up and practice early,” she said.
By now, Ms. Paynter has actually completed a few shorter marathons, the Capitol 10k in Austin. The Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon will be her first half-marathon, and will be a 13.1-mile run. Luckily, the middle of July in California is nowhere near as hot as in Texas.
“I was worried when I found out when it was, because in Texas, it’s 100 degrees in July. The average in California though is about 70. Plus, when we finish, we’re heading to the wine festival.”
Ms. Paynter, manager of The Good Stuff Gifts in Liberty Hill, is offering a discount on merchandise to customers who help the cause and donate to the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation. Donations are accepted in the store and online.
Ms. Paynter said 80 percent of the money raised will go directly to research and awareness. The money also goes toward educating medical professionals, helping with prescription affordability, and a summer camp for children with Chron’s.
For more information, visit the website.