By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– In just eight years the Maryland Half Marathon has become one of the most popular running events on the East Coast.

The event takes place in Howard County and has raised over $3 million for a great cause.

What started as a small event, has grown into a premiere running event in its ninth year.

“Its very humbling to stand out there and to see 2,000 runners waiting for the starting gun,” said Jon Sevel, the marathon’s co-founder.

The half marathon raises money for the University of Maryland’s Greenebaum Cancer Center, a $10 million gift from Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum in 1996, which helped make the center a reality. It is now designated as a comprehensive cancer center.

“Only 30 cancer centers in the country have that high level designation, which means we do everything from research to great clinical care.. It’s comprehensive, it’s what the name says.. You can’t get any better treatment than that,” said co-founder Michael Greenebaum.

The marathon is unique because 100 percent of all net proceeds will benefit the center.

“This race has raised so much money for research. Maybe one day there wont’ be a cancer center anymore because cancer will be a thing of the past. We can only hope,” Sevel said.

Hope thanks to the runners and the center’s groundbreaking research.

“There’s really no reason not to get out there and do something. Its great for the cancer center and its just great to have the opportunity to give people a chance to give back,” Greenbaum said.

Saturday’s half marathon begins at 8 a.m. in Maple Lawn, Howard County.

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