The Fox Focus Spring/Summer 2017 - Page 16


Olympic Gold Medalist and Team Fox MVP Join Forces to Outpace Parkinson ’ s

When Team Fox member and Parkinson ’ s patient Michael Westphal ran into his old friend and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson , they hatched a plan to run a marathon together in their home state of Maine . For Joan , it ’ s about celebrating her friend and making good on a promise . For Michael , it ’ s about continuing his tradition with Team Fox . For both , it ’ s about racing toward a cure .
The Michael J . Fox Foundation ( MJFF ): How long have you known each other and how did you reconnect ?
Joan : Michael and I went to neighboring high schools and I often raced against his sister . We saw each other for the first time in a long time at last year ’ s Boston Marathon — I didn ’ t recognize him ! I told him I had never run a marathon in Maine , and that when I do , I ’ d run with him . Well , we both turn 60 in May and the Sugarloaf Marathon is May 21 — so




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16 The Fox Focus
running together now seemed to be the logical choice .
Michael : We also both went to colleges in Maine and had dual meets quite often . We first ran together at the Boston Marathon in 1979 .
MJFF : What ’ s going to help push you across the finish line ?