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Running to Cure Alzheimer's

This past President’s Day weekend, if you were lucky, you took a brief vacation to a warmer clime. Alex Appel, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2006, spent Saturday in Florida, but it wasn’t exactly a vacation — he competed in, and won, the Iron Horse Endurance Run, a 62-mile race. (Yes, you read that right, 62 miles.)

Alex is competing in a series of so-called ultra marathons as a tribute to his grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s. She inspired him with her volunteer service in her home of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. And so now the grandson is raising money for the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association by running four ultra marathons (at least 200 miles) in the course of one year. He writes, “Since I know personally how this disease has impacted our family, I wish to do something concrete to help all families whose lives and loved ones are affected.”

Alex, who works at Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm in New York City, placed eighth in his first race last fall, the Can Lake 50 in upstate New York. Next up, in April, is the Zane Grey 50 Mile, in central Arizona. And in July, he’ll tackle the fourth race, the Leadville Silver Run, in Colorado, which starts at 10,000 feet and climbs to 12,000.

Among the many people cheering Alex on are his mother, Sarah Nash Sylvester, a current W&L trustee, and his sister, Lizzy Appel, of the Class of 2008.

You can read more about Alex’s mission at his website, Ultras to End Alzheimer’s.

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