Ralph Shore never thought of himself as a runner. But he makes a great Santa Claus. And his love of running grew from that.
Shortly after his sister died of breast cancer in 2000, Ralph called Levine Cancer institute to ask how he could connect with cancer survivors. In memory of his sister, he wanted to give back. Levine was seeking a Santa Claus for the children’s Christmas party, and Ralph fit the part. After extensive screening & training, he didn’t want to stop there. Inspired by the children at Levine, which he continues to work with, he started volunteering for Camp Care, a camp for children with cancer.
At that point in his life, Ralph weighed 265 pounds and was out of shape. Since Camp Care’s annual fundraiser is a 5K at McAlpine Creek Greenway, he signed up for his first race. He remembers walking the event the previous year, holding his nephew’s hand as the policemen were shutting the course down. Next time, he was going to run it.
Ralph hired a personal trainer, changed his diet, and dropped 67 lbs. With his wife’s support, he ran ten 5Ks in a matter of four months. He joined the Omega Nation running group and trained for the 2013 Savannah half marathon. He ran an impressive 2:03 half, making top 20% in his age group. He thought about running a full, but was deterred after a runner died on the course. That’s when his wife said, “You can do all the 5Ks you want, but no marathons, and no more half marathons either.”
To satisfy his passion for running, he decided to run fifty 5Ks in one year. That equates to one race almost every weekend! He made it to 48, but a hamstring injury got too painful for him to run any more. He is currently on a respite from racing, but he knows he will get back to it.
Nevertheless, his work with children with cancer continues. You may see Ralph dressed as Santa Clause at the kid’s Christmas party. And someday, just maybe, you’ll be running next to Santa during a local race.