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Run Becky Run

With rheumatoid arthritis under control, Folsom woman trains for half marathon
By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Fourteen years ago Becky Moirao couldn’t walk a mile, as rheumatoid arthritis began to ravage the joints in her 22-year-old body. Thanks to the wonders of medication, which now has her painful arthritis under control, Moirao, now 36, has begun training for the Kona Half Marathon, scheduled for June 23, 2013. “I still have rheumatoid arthritis,” Moirao said. “There is no cure, but it’s much better than it was when I was 22. My wrists are swollen and I have low range of motion in my left wrist and right elbow and my left ankle is bad, but my medication has helped and I have no restrictions and there’s nothing that I can’t do because of it. My last real flare up was about a year ago.” Through the years since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Moirao has annually participated in the Greater Sacramento Arthritis Walk, raising a couple hundred dollars each year, but was looking to do more. “I’ve been doing the walks every May but the most I’ve every raised was $500,” Moirao said. “A lot of people do the walk and I wanted to do something else. I want to get awareness out that arthritis is not just an older person’s disease. Now through the Joints in Motion program, I’m able to train for this half-marathon and it just gives more meaning and more purpose and holds me more accountability.” The Joints in Motion program is the Arthritis Foundation’s athletic training program, where they offer training to those suffering with arthritis and pay for their airfare, four night’s accommodations and entrance into the race. For her part, Moirao must raise $4,300, all of which goes to the Arthritis Foundation. Moirao is adding some accountability to herself by “selling her body parts” for advertising. A company’s name, logo or message will be temporarily tattooed on her forehead, cheeks, arms or legs for varying fees. She’s already sold the spot on her chest and the other body parts are going fast. Moirao began training for the half-marathon in August. The first step is training to the point where she can run three miles, which she figures she’ll be able to do later this fall. At that point the training runs ramp up in distance as she works toward running for 13.1 miles, which is half the distance of a marathon. She knows the training will be difficult, but it will all be worth it when she crosses that finish line in June. “I think mentally it will be tough, maintaining the motivation because I know there will be ups and downs, but I’m prepared for that. I just have to stay focused and keep moving.” Besides earning that “13.1” sticker, which she plans to place proudly on her car, finishing the race would mean a lot to her. “Knowing that 12 or 13 years ago I could barely walk a mile, finishing this half-marathon will be a huge accomplishment,” Moirao said. Moirao’s husband, Stefan, knows better than anyone what his wife has dealt with over the years and is proud of her efforts to participate and finish the half-marathon. Stefan is also training and will run the marathon with her. “I think what she’s doing is a great thing,” Stefan said. “Exercising is the best thing for a person with arthritis to do and she’s also lost weight and gotten into great shape to do this and it’s great to see her undertake this adventure,” he said. “I’m not shocked at all at her decision to do this. She’s always looking for ways to improve herself; looking for that carrot to dangle in front of her. When she puts her mind to something, you can’t stop her.” Moirao’s friend, Lupe Kinsella, is so inspired by Moirao that she’s decided to train for the run as well. “Becky is absolutely inspirational,” Kinsella said. “Here I am, a good friend of hers who’s healthy and I’m not doing anything like that. She’s inspired and motivated me to start training for the run and I hope to run the race right next to her. I think what she’s doing is great.” Moirao lives in Folsom with Stefan and has two step-sons. She owns her own .com business, Rely Local Folsom, is active as a member and volunteer with the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and is also the 2012 Folsom’s Leading Young Professionals (FLYP) Chair. Anyone wishing to help Moirao in her fundraising efforts can do so on her Website, runbeckyrun.com.