'Marathon Goddess' to be honored after raising $1 million for pancreatic cancer research

The woman known as the "Marathon Goddess" is set to be honored this weekend ahead of her home race, the Los Angeles Marathon, after raising more than $1 million for pancreatic cancer research.

Julie Weiss, 52, is set to run her 116th career marathon Sunday. She is on a quest to finish 12 races in 12 months, a goal set to be achieved this weekend with the LA Big 5K on Saturday and Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon.

The veteran runner, who lost her father to pancreatic cancer 10 years ago, finished 52 races in 52 weeks in 2013 — all while raising money for cancer research.

"I wanted to do something big, something dramatic, to raise funds and awareness for this disease because, you know, it's just an awful disease," the Santa Monica native told ABC7 in Los Angeles. "So I set out to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks."

Sunday will mark Weiss' 14th Los Angeles Marathon in the last 15 years.

“This race is just so special to me,” Weiss told Women's Running. “When you are out there running for a charity or doing something for someone else, and it’s so much bigger than yourself and it adds so much more meaning to it, you know, it makes it even that much more special.”

Weiss, now a grandmother of two, raises funds for the Hirshberg Foundation, a pancreatic cancer research nonprofit that operates labs at UCLA as well as other locations.

She has written a book, “52 Marathons: The Miles and Trials of a Marathon Goddess,” and also operates her own website that raises funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer research.

For her years of service as an ambassador to the Los Angeles Marathon — as well as the consistent funds she raised for cancer research — Weiss will receive a Golden Star ahead of Sunday's race. The honor is modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame and serves as a precursor to the race’s future hall of fame, according to Women's Running.

Weiss said she has felt her father alongside her through the years.

“I know 100 percent he is still with me on this journey,” Weiss told Women's Running. “And in some ways, it’s just better that it took 10 years because of all of the people and all of the relationships that I’ve created and the people I’ve met and ran for over the years.

"If I had raised the money all in the first year, it still would’ve been good, but this is just kind of a testament to never giving up no matter how long it takes.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Julie Weiss, 'Marathon Goddess,' raises $1 million for cancer research