Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Marathon runner's cause hits close to home

Date: 3/26/2010

March 29, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW -- John Yahres has been running for about 35 years. He's participated in 5K and 10K races in the past but next month, he'll be doing something he's never done before -- at age 63, Yahres will be running his first marathon.

The East Longmeadow resident isn't running the Boston Marathon on April 19 just for the physical challenge. He will be running as a member of the "Run for the Memory" team, which raises funds for the Alzheimer's Association.

"I never thought I could or wanted to do a marathon," Yahres said. "This past year, though, I felt good and I was aware of the Alzheimer's team. I felt it would be a good thing to do."

Yahres' wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease nine years ago at the age of 55. He will be running for her.

"Alzheimer's is a disease that affects everybody," Yahres said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "It's been really difficult to watch a person fade away, and it can happen over a long period of time. It's incredibly stressful and your focus becomes very narrow. It's the one thing you have to deal with all the time."

Running helps Yahres relieve his stress. He said making the time to run and exercise is a priority for him. Before he decided to run the marathon, he was putting in 15 to 20 miles a week; now, he's running 40 to 50.

"It's been a positive experience for me," he commented.

He added that this was the first time he's run for a specific cause, although he's regularly been involved with Alzheimer's Association walks. The next one is scheduled for late September at Holyoke Community College.

The Alzheimer's Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter's Run for the Memory program began in 2002, when a group of individual runners approached the Alzheimer's Association with a goal of completing the Boston Marathon while promoting awareness of the disease and raising funds to support its programs and services, according to the association's Web site.

Over the past eight years, the program has grown to become a year-round fundraising athletic program, collectively raising over $1,100,000. To date, Run for the Memory runners have successfully completed the Boston, New York and Chicago marathons, among other athletic events.

Yahres, who is serving on the association's Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter's board of directors, will be the chapter's chair next year.

He is still seeking donations for his Boston Marathon run. All funds raised will be used for the care of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's and for future research of the disease. Those wishing to support him can do so by visiting the Web site and searching for John Yahres. For more information on the Alzheimer's Association, visit

"The Boston Marathon is a big deal," Yahres said, "and all 33 members of the team are very dedicated to making a difference."