CHICAGO (WBBM) – 45,000 runners are expected to be on the 26-mile course Sunday for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

WBBM’s Steve Miller has the story of one runner who’s hardly an also-ran, even before the runners start.

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This is the first marathon for 38-year-old Merri Lazenby, a nurse who runs and trains in the far western suburbs.

One year ago, she offered to do something to help a security guard at the hospital where she worked.

“I think most of the people I work with at the hospital would say I’m just plain crazy, but the words really truly tumbled out of my mouth.”

“It was October 2 of last year, I donated my kidney to a security guard at the hospital.”

“Part of it was instinctual. I’m a nurse and I’m a fixer. So, ‘Ray, if all you need is a kidney, I’ve got two. God gave me two. I can share.'”

A year later, she – and the security guard she didn’t even know all that well – are doing fine.

And on Sunday, in her first marathon, Merri Lazenby is running to help a pediatric cancer foundation called Cal’s Angels – because another co-worker’s son has had cancer.

“I thought, if I can do something to help my friend Laura, that’s something I can do. Because there’s a lot of Lauras out there.”

And Lazenby thinks the date is auspicious.

“Barring any major issues at the marathon, I should have a finisher’s medal that will forever have 10-10-10 engraved on it, with my name on it. Which will be pretty cool.”

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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