A Half Marathon to Honor Her Grandfather: Q&A with Alexandra Archuleta

PDF ChampionsHow can college students help PDF to end Parkinson’s?  For Alexandra Archuleta, the answer is simple: lace up her sneakers and run the Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon in Oakland, CA. This Sunday, March 20, she’s taking on the race as a PDF Champion to honor her grandfather.

With friends and family cheering her on, she’s already raised $1,000 for PDF (double the amount she initially hoped to raise). Hear from Alexandra about why it was important to her to get involved and put her passion for running to work for Parkinson’s disease.


Q. What inspired you to complete a half marathon to benefit PDF?

A. My grandfather is my favorite person, my best friend and my beloved mentor. I couldn’t be more honored to be named after such a great man. In September of 2013, our lives changed forever when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

I’m excited to run 13.1 miles with a PDF racing jersey on my back through the streets of Oakland, the very streets my grandfather served and protected as a firefighter-engineer for the Oakland Fire Department for over 30 years.

Q. Is this your first endurance race?

A. This is my third half marathon. But it is my first half marathon I’ve dedicated to a purpose. Training for this half marathon has been a physical challenge. But because I’ve done it with purpose — with the goal in my heart and mind of ending Parkinson’s disease — it has been so much more rewarding.

Q. What do your family and friends think of your efforts? What do you hope to accomplish by running as a PDF Champion? 

A. Knowing I have the support of my friends and family inspires me every day. I’ve received an unbelievable amount of support and feedback since day one of my fundraising campaign. In fact, I even achieved my initial goal of $500 within 24 hours of my original social media posts!

My goal is to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in my community and as many funds as I can for PDF, to support their efforts to end this disease for my grandfather and millions of others.

Ms. Archuleta of San Ramon, CA, works as a marketing coordinator and is a student studying communications at California State University, East Bay.

Do you want to pound the pavement for Parkinson’s? To learn more and sign up as a PDF Champion, visit www.pdf.org/champions, or contact us at info@pdf.org.

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