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Teacher makes marathon effort to help fight cancer

A native English teacher in Korea is set to run a marathon to raise money to fight cancer.

Nick Scherf, who teaches at the Hanyang Oregon Language Institute in Seoul, is to run in honor of his parents who both suffered from the disease.

Scherf, 25, has been planning the 42-kilometer run since his father died of esophageal cancer in March 2008. His mother, Sandra, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks later, but won her fight with the disease. 
Nick Scherf with two of his students
Nick Scherf with two of his students

With his mother now in remission, Scherf is keen to raise funds for research to help others beat the disease. He is to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 on a trip home from South Korea.

He will run with the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team ― and has already raised $1,200 to go towards the charity’s research.

“I have surpassed my goal of $1,000 but I am still pushing really hard to get as many donations as possible. Everyone has been so encouraging,” said Scherf who is originally from Ohio but now lives in Guui.

“My dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March 2008. When he died I had already wanted to raise some money for cancer research. Then when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer one and a half months after that it really clicked with me that I had to do something.

“When all that happened running became a really good outlet for me too.”

Although Scherf is a longtime runner and has run half marathons with Seoul-based running group, Team Dirt, he has upped his training for the marathon over the last four months. Though the Korean monsoon season has hampered some of his outdoor training he has been following a strict regime in the gym and along the Han River whenever possible.

He also intends to run a half marathon in the 8th Cheorwon International Peace Marathon at the DMZ this September 4.

Those wanting to donate to Scherf’s Chicago run for the American Cancer Society can do so by searching for his name on the website

By Kirsty Taylor (
Korea Herald daum