Kathy Antoniotti

GREEN: John Doan took up running three years ago when he was asked to participate in the Cleveland Marathon on behalf of a friend’s ill, 6-month-old son.

The Medina boy’s father asked Doan to sponsor him, or run himself, to raise funds to help combat neutropenia, an autoimmune disorder that afflicted his son.

Doan, a Green resident, decided it was an excellent reason to take up running, and it would give him the chance to cross “compete in a marathon” off his bucket list.

“That’s what got me running — to help raise funds for my friend’s son,” said Doan, 40, who will participate Thursday in the second annual Turkey Trot sponsored by the Green Professionals Association.

While training for that first half-marathon, Doan developed iliotibial band syndrome, one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. It occurs when a ligament running from the thigh to the hip is tight or inflamed.

Typically, the injury causes swelling and pain on the outside of the knee and can sideline a runner for weeks, or longer.

“I did the race, but I won’t say I was ready for it,” Doan said.

During his recovery, Doan began researching running techniques and quickly realized he was not training properly. He read about bare-footed, or minimalist, running techniques, which led to Chirunning, based on movement principles of tai chi, the Chinese martial art said to reduce stress and offer other health benefits.

“I had shin splints, plantar fasciitis — as soon as I started applying Chirunning, I was healthy within six weeks,” he said.

In 2012, Doan competed in more than 10 races without further injuries and convinced his daughter, Reagan, to join him for the 5K (3.1-mile) Turkey Trot.

The activity has brought Doan and Reagan, who turns 10 on Friday, closer, he said.

“Personally, as passionate as I am about running, it’s nice that I’m able to share that with my daughter,” Doan said.

He doesn’t expect his wife, Bonnie, or the couple’s other two daughters — Morgan, 7, and Alyson, 5 — to join them.

“Last year, they stayed in bed. They will likely stay in bed again this year,” Doan said with a laugh.

Doan and his daughter, who competed in a Girls on the Run 5K last weekend, will pair up with training partners Milan Jovanovic and his 9 year-old daughter, Simonida, Reagan’s classmate at Green Intermediate School.

Green Professionals Association is affiliated with the city, and most of its members grew up there, said Christopher J. Meager, secretary of the organization and an attorney at Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC.

“The purpose of the GPA is to show that Green is a great place to live, work and locate a business,” he said.

The nonprofit group holds the event to raise awareness in the community and to raise money for scholarships for high school seniors to urge them to return to Green following their college careers, Meager said.

“The Turkey Trot is our signature fundraising event. Our hope is to also make this a signature event for the city of Green. Races are a big draw, and the Turkey Trot is a great way to showcase our city, community members and generous businesses,” Meager said.

Last year, 625 people participated in the inaugural event, raising more than $10,000 for scholarships awarded last spring to Green High School seniors.

Green grad Allison Humbert, 26, who graduated from Ohio State University and now works in New York City, said she will be there to continue a family tradition established with her father, Mike Humbert.

“My dad and I try to run races together every year, and we make sure the Green Turkey Trot is one of them. Plus, I won’t feel as guilty eating all the pumpkin pie later in the day,” she said.

Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.