Alpha Stories

Published on Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Over the mountains, through the streets, Alphas make great strides

Over the mountains, through the streets, Alphas make great strides

This week, two Alphas covered a lot of distance in both raising awareness and personal accomplishment — 110 miles and 26.2 miles, respectively.

Jonathan Maidment celebrated his 19th birthday March 10 on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, the second of 14 states he and hiking partner Brian Fearon will traverse on a 2,200-mile journey.

“Met amazing people,” he wrote on his Hiking for a Cure for Alpha-1 Facebook page. “My trail name is Money Maker and Brian’s is Night Whisperer. Views are amazing!”

Maidment, who started in Georgia on Feb. 27, is carrying a flag that says, “Hiking For A Cure — Remembering Our Alpha Angels,” bearing the names of Alphas who have died, and aims to raise at least $10,000 for research to find a cure. He anticipates the hike will take about six months, putting him at Mount Katahdin, ME, in August.

On March 9, sometime after the 22-mile marker in the L.A. Marathon, Nikki Parker Hayes was telling herself, over and over, “You’re almost there. You can do this.”

She did. In her first marathon, she finished in 5:02:49, just over her goal of five hours, crossing the line to hugs from son Parker and husband Jamie, who also gave her 26 red roses — “and a white mum for the .2 [mile],” Hayes said. “Love my husband!”

Another goal Hayes hit spot on: raising $5,000 for the Alpha-1 Foundation’s research programs. “Why am I running? I am running because I still can. I am running for all the Alphas who can’t. I am running for a cure,” she wrote on her fundraising page.

After 20 miles, flagging from the heat, Hayes got a second wind and welcome relief from the cool spray of an open fire hydrant. “That was the most delicious moment,” she said.

Hayes’ overall place in the marathon was 8,902 out of  21,495. Among women, she was 2,814 of 9,123.

Echoing Maidment, she also called her experience amazing — “It almost makes me want to do another!” — and it showed in her post-run glow.

Hayes wrote to her friends, “I know you supported the Alpha-1 Foundation because you wanted to support me. That means the world to me.”