Keri Mandell is an educator in the South Brunswick Public School District, a yogi, CrossFit coach, marathoner and Ironman athlete. After moving back to her native New Jersey, she joined a running group. She competed in her first marathon in Philadelphia in 2014 and has run in fourteen of them since then, including the “Big Six:” New York, Boston, Chicago, London, Toyko and Berlin.
Mandell is now currently one of 42 athletes training to compete in the World Marathon Challenge: 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. The DetermiNation Endurance Series event provides the opportunity to fundraise for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The marathon takes place Feb. 6-12, beginning in Novo, Antarctica. Only 139 people have completed the challenge since its inception in 2015. Mandell, along with Brooklynite Brian Cronin, have committed to an individual fundraising goal of $150,000 to support the ACS mission.
“I have chosen to compete in this race as a way to challenge myself both physically and mentally, but more importantly to raise awareness and funds to help fight cancer,” Mandell says. “I will run this race to honor my father, Arthur Roedel, who died an untimely death because of multiple myeloma.”
Her father and stepmother each lived for about four years with their respective cancers, and died within six months of each other almost three years ago. She also lost a dear friend to cancer around the same time. Ten years earlier, doctors found cancer cells on Mandell’s cervix and she had it removed, but she found out that she could no longer have children.
“Running to help fight cancer is something that I am driven to do — passionate about — and being able to have the privilege to compete in one of the most challenging races on the planet is certainly an awesome bonus,” she says. “I hope that through my actions and sacrifices needed to compete inspires others to join the fight. I could not be more excited to have joined with ACS on their mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.”
The runners will meet up in South Africa, and on Feb. 5, travel by private chartered plane to a Russian weather station in Novo with medical staff and the race director. After Novo, the marathons will be run in Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai in Asia; Madrid, Spain in Europe; Fortaleza, Brazil in South America; and Miami in North America.
“My dad always encouraged me to chase my dreams,” Mandell says.
You can find out how to join Keri Mandell virtually and help with fundraising by clicking here.