Columbus Woman Runs 51 Miles in 24 Hours to Honor Father, Raise Funds to End Lung Cancer

When Columbus resident Traci Mehalic was young, she began running with her father. Now, after her father’s passing from lung cancer, she is running 51 miles in 24 hours to fund lung cancer research.

Five years ago, Mehalic discovered the vertical mile event at the Fight For Air Climb at Rhodes Tower. As an avid runner, it was a perfect endurance event for her. When she found out that the event supported the American Lung Association, she chose to get more involved to honor her father.

This June, she is participating in the American Lung Association in Ohio’s LUNG FORCE Run/Walk, a virtual fundraising event where participants can run or walk one mile, a 5K, 10K, or a half marathon in one trip or can spread out their chosen distance over the entire month.

“I have completed 17 full marathons and too many half marathons to count, so this is a perfect event for me,” said Mehalic. “One weekend in June, I am going to run 51 miles in 24 hours for the LUNG FORCE Run/Walk. I chose 51 miles because I just turned 51 on June 1.”

As an ambassador of the LUNG FORCE Run Walk, Mehalic encourages people to get involved. That’s why she has pledged to virtually run with anyone who she gets to sign up. The person will pick the distance, the day and the time, and Mehalic will run with them via the app Strava.

While she loves to run, Mehalic is also motivated to raise awareness and funding for life-saving lung cancer research.

“I support the Lung Association because the more money I raise, the more people I can help,” she said. “I never thought it would be so easy to get involved and make an impact. I never thought I was good at fundraising, but if you support the causes you are passionate about, it isn’t hard. It is fulfilling. Right now, it feels good to be able to do something for a cause you know helps people.”

Money raised at the Virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease. It will also support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics. The initiative works with public and private entities to increase research collaboration and develop new vaccines, detection tests and treatment therapies.

The Lung Association’s Virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk will be held throughout the month of June. Participants are encouraged to run or walk their targeted distance outside while respectfully distancing from others or inside their own homes. Registration is $25. More information can be found at

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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