Running the distance for polio eradication

Tanya Wolff at the end of a marathon.

Tanya Wolff at the end of Disney’s marathon-and-a-half.

By Tanya F. Wolff, past governor of District 6330 in Ontario, Canada

I am not a runner. I can jog. I can walk and I can hike. I do these things for those in the world who cannot.

The PolioPlus program was already in effect when I joined Rotary in 1992. Seeing as I have travelitis (the need to travel constantly), the idea of traveling to another part of the world was a Rotary opportunity that I could not pass up.

As a child, I didn’t know anyone affected by polio. It just didn’t exist in my world. But my world has become bigger since I joined Rotary. In the remotest parts of India, Mali, Niger, Egypt, Benin and Nepal, I met thousands who have been touched by this disease.

In 2010, I decided to run my first marathon for PolioPlus, and I couldn’t think of a better place than in Chicago, the birthplace of Rotary. The following year, I joined the Rotary Club of New York’s marathon team for the NYC marathon. Earlier this year I tackled Disney’s marathon-and-a-half, called the “Goofy.” Which it was!

I proudly crossed the finish line all three times wearing the End Polio Now logo.

Marathons are like having children. The first time, you say “never again.” But a few weeks or months later you might say “that wasn’t so bad, maybe one more.” I’ve had three children and “run” three marathons.

I don’t plan to have more children myself, but I will keep chasing that finish line until we have fulfilled our promise to the children of the world.

Tanya will be running in the Miami Marathon on 2 February, 2014. You can support Tanya’s run for polio, or if you are a Rotary member contribute directly to End Polio Now and let Tanya know at Your contributions will be matched double by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, increasing the impact of your giving to eradicate this disease.

Learn more ways you can help:

8 thoughts on “Running the distance for polio eradication

  1. Dear Tanya,
    I’m Neris Besson, a Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Colón, Entre Ríos, Argentina (Cross-Border District 4940, Argentina/Uruguay).
    First of all, I do congratulate you on your marathon for Polio Plus. You’ve done an admirable work!
    In the same way, in 2011, the two Rotary Clubs of Paysandú (Uruguay) and mine began to organize a marathon for March 2012 in order to support the polio eradication campaign, among other goals: the Crossing of the Uruguay River. This year, in March as well, we carried out the second edition of the event with a total of 631 participants. Now we’re working on the third one, which will take place on March 23, 2014.
    Our footrace joins both of the towns: Colón, in Argentina, and Paysandú, in Uruguay, by means of the General José Gervasio Artigas International Bridge. It aims to bring together sportspeople, neighbors and Rotarians in an environment of mutual understanding and cooperation between nations, healthy life, solidarity and vocation for service. Takings are allocated to support the Polio Plus campaign, as I mentioned before.
    The Crossing offers three options to run: 21 km, 10 km and 5 km. All of them have the international bridge as an imposing scene and combine urban and natural stretches by the Uruguay River.
    Last but not least, I’d like to invite you and your friends to pay us a visit for our 3rd Crossing of the Uruguay River, on March 23, 2014. It would be great to have you here! What do you think about it?
    Kind regards,
    Neris Besson


  2. Egypt was declared ‘polio free’ in 2006. But polio was detected in drainage in slum areas around Cairo, Jan.2013. Source? Sekour, Pakistan. Local immunization campaign was held, thanks to an urgent aid from Rotary International, thru UNICEF. Local Rotary clubs supported it. I put it in the news. We’ll have National Immunization Drive next month. Rotary clubs in Egypt will take part and outreach to media. I don’t know how world would have been like without Rotary involvement in Polio Eradication. But I know that this involvement has saved lives of hundreds of millions of children around the world since 1986. Let’s complete the last inch, contribute and END POLIO NOW.


  3. Pingback: Today’s Links | Rotary International District 3040

  4. What a coincidence- this year six members the Rotaract Club of Chicago ran the Disney Marathon and Half Marathon for Rotary as well! Here we are post-race:

    We ran the race to raise money for a District 6450 Rotary Matching Grant to purchase ‘mechanical cows’ which make soymilk for undernourished school children in Guatemala. Extra milk and byproduct are used to make breads, cookies, and cakes which are sold by local women at the market. Our members got the chance to visit the project (and the children!) in July:

    Tanya- it is amazing that you have run THREE races for PolioPlus! There are so many creative ways our club can do more to End Polio Now. Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Tanya: Let me congratulate you on your running the distance for polio eradication. I remember when you went to Everest base camp to participate in NID in remote village of Nepal, also you atending my district conference in Kathmandu in 2010. Nepal Government just annouced NID for this year on 21 December and 25 January 2014. With best regards,

      Ratna Man Sakya, PDG RID 3292 for 2009-10 Chairman Nepal National PolioPlus Committee..


  5. Pingback: Running the distance for polio eradication | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

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