MARSHALL - Ryan Naab never met his grandfather, Orlean Naab, but in October he will participate in a grueling contest on his behalf.
Orlean Naab died at the age of 44 of Hodgkin's lymphoma and his grandson, a 2000 Lakeview graduate, is raising money to help fight the disease and will run in his first full marathon Oct. 29 in Dublin, Ireland.
Naab, the son of Scott Naab and Cindy Lundy, both of Cottonwood, said he has been running half marathons "for fun," since 2010.
Cottonwood native Ryan Naab is running his first full marathon next month in Ireland for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"I wanted to stay in shape both physically and mentally," he said. After awhile, running gets "addicting."
Then a friend told him he might as well run for a good cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Remembering that his grandfather succumbed to the disease, Naab checked out the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and learned that it is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services.
In addition, "It's the No. 1 killer for kids under 20," he said.
With his grandfather and lymphoma-stricken children as his inspiration, Naab trains twice a week for the 26.2 mile-trek. He recently ran 20 miles.
"The first two miles are pretty tough," Naab said. "You try to get your pace, rhythm and breathing down. Once you get settled in and in the zone - it's smooth sailing."
About mile 16 or 17, however, his "knees, thighs and bottoms of feet start to hurt," he said. That's when the motivation of running for others kicks in.
"I think of them fighting the battle of lymphoma," he said.
Naab, who now lives in St. Louis Park, runs as a member of the LLS Team in Training. There are seven who are going to Dublin, which will be about a five-day trip including traveling time.
Naab has set a goal of raising $6,000.
"You have to have raised at least $5,500 to participate in the Dublin race and $6,000 provides six weeks of medical research," he said. He's about $1,500 away from his goal.
For more information, visit pages.teamintraining.org/mn/dublin12/rnaabo. Donations may be made to Ryan Naab, 301 Shelard Pkwy Apt. 126, St. Louis Park, MN 55426. Check may be made to LLS.