Valerie Bertinelli is staring at a couple of milestones.
On Friday, April 23, she turns the big five-oh, something she says, “I’m not even thinking about yet.”
Because first, on Monday, April 19, she is running in the Boston Marathon, her first 26 mile race, and she is consumed by the enormity of the challenge.
“I’m really nervous,” Bertinelli told Fancast.com a few minutes after she picked up her official race number at the city’s convention center. “I’ve never run this far before – and with so many people watching.”
“If I screw up, I prefer to do it in private,” she added.
She won’t screw up. Last week, she ran her longest distance ever, 19.2 miles, near her home in L.A.
“Surprisingly I wasn’t as sore as I thought, not as sore as when I ran my first half marathon,” she said.
Last year, Bertinelli decided she wanted to run the Boston Marathon as a personal challenge, part of keep herself in tippy-top shape after several years of losing weight. But earlier this year she pledged to run the long distance as a way of raising money and awareness for the Boston-based Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Bertinelli set a goal of raising $15,000; she’s already a little past $16,000 and hoping to get more people to help sponsor her.
“It’s such an amazing cause,” she says, explaining that she’s created a sign-up page on her website, Valeriebertinelli.com. “All you have to do is click and donate.”
Bertinelli toured the Dana Farber Cancer Center on Friday and got teary-eyed as she saw the work researchers are doing and sat with patients undergoing chemo and other treatments.
“Those people there are real heroes,” she told Fancast. “The doctors, the nurses, and especially the patients and their family and friends who are sitting there.”
“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t in some way been touched by cancer – whether it’s them, someone in their family or a friend or co-worker,” she continued. “This is one of those easy ways to contribute. I’m willing to endure the knee pain for the work that’s being done at the institute. I hope people will click on my website and join forces with me.”
Bertinelli will be running with her trainer, Christopher Lane, but she’ll also be running for a personal reason, too.
“In 2005, my Aunt Norma succumbed to colon cancer,” she explained on her website. “She was my Dad’s youngest sister, a mother to four daughters and one son, and a light in our lives. She was the funny one. I believe I inherited her sense of humor, as Aunt Norma was always the life of the party. I remember a trip to Las Vegas a few years ago when Aunt Norma and Aunt Adeline stayed up all night playing slot machines. They even outlasted me!
If my legs begin to ache during the race, I will draw on Aunt Norma – her warm laugh and her sunny spirit – for inspiration.