CHICAGO — Everyone who steps to the finish line and then runs 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods on Sunday is doing so for a reason.

Claire Radler has hers as she takes part in the 45th Chicago Marathon, with every step on the course taking a step towards her healing from a family tragedy, doing what she can to prevent that from happening again.

The 26-year-old is raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, doing so in tribute to her mother Katherine, who took her own life in 2019 after dealing with postpartum depression.

“Spread the word, remove the stigma, because they’re so much stigma around this type of depression,” said Radler of her motivation to run the marathon.

Her passion for doing so has shown in her fundraising for the Chicago Marathon, collecting over $15,000 in donations ahead of the October 8 race. Radler said she could barely run a mile in January but has joined 200 others raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“I thought it would be a great way to honor my mother, my family, and raise money for a cause that’s just a really great organization,” said Radler.

Katherine Radler (Courtesy: Claire Radler)

Her contributions will help to advocate for research and education around suicide in hopes of preventing tragedies like the one that happened to Katherine. A mother of three who lived in Winnetka, she remains in Claire’s thoughts as she winds down training for the Chicago Marathon.

Her training runs are often on the path that borders Lake Michigan, a destination for distance runners during the summer months. It’s here where Radler finds peace and purpose along with the strength to tackle one of the most grueling challenges in endurance sports.

“All of my family has said she’s with you every step of the way,” said Radler.

Claire is still collecting donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which you can donate to here.

More information can be found on the foundation’s website, or anyone who is struggling can get immediate help by calling or texting 988 or texting TALK to 747741.