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Chris McDougall: South Philly Native Returns for PHL24

He’s profiled those who were Born To Run through the Copper Canyons of Mexico and others who were Natural Born Heroes in World War II. Now, journalist, author and ultra-marathon runner Christopher McDougall will lend his unique talents to the Fishtown Beer Runners team Legacy of Hope’s PHL24 2019, presented by the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health.

Gearing up for its second year, PHL24 is a 24-hour stair climbing marathon to be held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s famous steps, beginning on September 20. The $100,000 fundraising goal will go directly back to the Philadelphia cancer community to support patients and researchers. McDougall said he chose to participate in the event after learning about it from friend and FBR founder, David April.

“He and I have become pretty good friends over the years. In fact, it was really weird: I was actually in Philly for an event [in 2015] and stopped by his house the day he got his initial [cancer] diagnosis,” McDougall said. “I was in Philly for an event with my second book Natural Born Heroes, and a group of us were going to run from Rittenhouse Square out to Fishtown, meet up with David and the Beer Runners and then run back [downtown].”

When McDougall arrived at April’s home, FBR’s founder hadn’t yet walked outside to help lead the run. April invited him inside and, according to McDougall, it was then that he learned from FBR’s founder about his fateful turn of medical events.

The friendship forged by the two men in the ensuing years led McDougall to accept the invite for PHL24 and join the FBR team.

“I’ve become so impressed by David and what’s he done with the Beer Runners over the years that they’re the only stamp of validity that I need. If David says he’s in, I’m in. His reputation is so solid that if he believes in something, I’ll take his word for it,” McDougall said.

It remains to be seen whether he will complete the entire 24-hour stair marathon, but aside from his Beer Runners teammates, McDougall also may not be coming in alone.