40th Annual Spirit Run benefits multiple schools, youth sports and causes, including ALS Hope for Peggy Fort

The 40th Annual Spirit Run is scheduled for Sunday, March 17 on St. Patrick’s Day at Fashion Island. Spirit Run began as a 5k and kids’ dash benefiting three schools. Forty years later, it hosts 12 running and walking events benefiting multiple schools, youth sports programs and other causes. This year, Spirit Run has a cause near and dear to the hearts of many local residents – ALS Hope for Peggy Fort.

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Photos courtesy of Spirit Run

Peggy Fort outside her home

Peggy Fort is known locally as the founder and CEO of CMC, a boutique marketing agency in Corona del Mar. She is appreciated for her service to the Newport Beach Restaurant Association, Newport Beach Restaurant Week and the Orange County Marathon. Fort has volunteered for charitable organizations including as American Cancer Society’s Orange County regional board member, Newport Beach’s Relay for Life chairperson and for Orange Coast College Foundation’s board of directors. In 2021, Fort’s long-standing commitment to her community was recognized by the State of California when Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris named her as the Woman of Distinction for the City of Newport Beach.

What may be less known about Fort is her athleticism, or that she has used her athletic passion to help others. She ran 23 marathons to benefit the American Cancer Society. Through this and other charitable efforts, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

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Peggy Fort at the Alaska Marathon, May 2022

In 2021, Fort was diagnosed with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Charcot’s disease. ALS is a progressive disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. It causes the wasting away of muscles, taking away the freedom to walk, talk, run, laugh, hug, eat and breathe. Currently, there are no effective cures or treatments to stop ALS progression.

Fort’s condition requires round the clock services including essential equipment, medical care and vitally important caregivers. The caregivers cost upwards of $100,000 annually and are not covered by insurance.

Despite the diagnosis, Fort remains courageous and hopeful.

“The day I was diagnosed was the shock of my life. I have always been so healthy and full of energy. Life is much more of a challenge now. I have always loved a challenge and am determined not to let ALS define my life.”

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Peggy Fort running in the Chicago Marathon, 2019

To return the favor of Fort’s running for cancer research, Spirit Run is inviting you to run or walk a mile or 5k at Spirit Run. When you register, credit your entry to ALS Hope for Peggy Fort. Spirit Run will donate 25% or more of your entry fee to Fort’s care. Even better, the more people who credit their entries to ALS Hope for Peggy Fort, the higher the percentage she will receive.

You may also make a tax-deductible donation to Spirit Run to benefit ALS Hope for Peggy Fort. Spirit Run invites you to make a donation when you register, or at the Donate to Causes page at Spirit Run’s website at www.newportspiritrun.org.

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