WASHINGTON, D.C., January 17, 2014 ( – On the West Coast, tens of thousands walk for life. In the nation's capital, hundreds of thousands march for life. But for a select few, that's not moving fast enough: They're the LIFE Runners, and this year they will hold the second annual Nellie Gray 5K Run.


On the morning of the March – next Wednesday, January 22 – they will gather at East Potomac Park to run as a wordless, life-affirming testimony.

Few people embody the spirit of life more than Ed Heigl. The St. Louis native has stage four cancer, but has run 40 races and spent more than 1,000 hours on the road.

Two features make Ed stand out: his LIFE Runners t-shirt and the chemo pump he must wear while running. He is the only known cancer patient to wear his pump during marathons. His efforts raised more than $1,500 for pro-life organizations and crisis pregnancy centers last year alone.

Heigl will be one of four people LIFE Runners and the Vitae Foundation will recognize at the D.C. run. Another, six-year-old Keelan Glass, became the youngest person to complete a half-marathon while raising money for a crisis pregnancy center.

“LIFE Runners is about living our pro-life faith out in the world and making our daily sacrifices a prayer offering to end the scourge of abortion, and these four individuals do exactly that,” said LIFE Runners president and co-founder Dr. Pat Castle.


Participants do not have to be world class athletes to participate. Already 150 runners, joggers, and well-intentioned lopers have registered for the race, named in honor of Nellie Gray, the founder of the March for Life, who passed away in August 2012.

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March for Life director Jeanne Monahan announced the start of the race and participated in last year's inaugural Nellie Gray 5K Run, then awarded trophies to the winners.

Some make the races a year-long commitment to unborn babies. The organization's 1,800 members have no requirements other than to race while wearing a t-shirt that says “Remember The Unborn,” with a reference to Jeremiah 1:5. Steve Castle, one of the five core leaders of LIFE Runners, told last year that many “see it as a silent, private witness. And it engages the culture in a way that is not combative.”

Pat Castle said the run is a fitting beginning to a national witness for a healthy society – one that begins by recognizing the unalienable rights of children beginning in the womb.

“What better way to honor Nellie Gray than to honor others like her who go the extra mile for the unborn?” he asked.