January 17 2018
Renee DeMarsh thrives on extreme physical challenges. She'll soon participate in the 2018 World Marathon Challenge.
To enter our 2015/2016 cover runner contest presented by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, click here!
Narrowing our cover model contest finalists down to nine great stories was a careful process. After receiving an overwhelming number of entries—nearly 2,000!—the WR staff combed through each incredible application. After zeroing in on 20 semi-finalists, we finally nailed down our top nine leading ladies from all around the country. One finalist was a 2016 Olympic Trials hopeful, while another conquered 26.2 miles in full military gear with 45 pounds strapped on her back. One was a recovering alcoholic now training for Ironman triathlons, another completed her first race while finishing medical school.
But Team WR (aka, you!) made the final call on our cover model champion. After more than 25,000 votes poured in for the finalists on womensrunning.com, our cameras turned to Lindsey Hein, a 31-year-old mom and marathon runner who made a fearless health decision in 2013, prompted by her discovery of the BRCA2 gene mutation.
“Ever since I had Marshall [my son], it was kind of in the forefront of my head to get this genetic test done. It was just eating at me—the fear of having the mutation,” says Hein, who tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation in June 2013. “Everyone has the gene—but if one of your parents have the mutation, there’s a 50-50 chance you will inherit it.”
Prompted to get the test by her mother (who also has the mutation), Lindsey’s results arrived two weeks before her first half Ironman in Muncie, Ind. She knew this meant she had an 86 percent chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime and 27 percent chance of ovarian cancer. Lindsey elected to get an MRI and mammogram before her 70.3 race to rule out both possibilities before exploring future preventive treatments.
“Knowing was so much better than not knowing. Whether I knew it or not, it was there,” she recalls. Clutching her phone close in the days leading up to her race, Hein dashed out of the athlete village to receive the doctor’s news: She was currently cancer free. The next morning, on July 13, 2013, Lindsey completed her first half Ironman in 5:55:17, clocking a sub-2-hour half marathon.
“I kept telling myself, ‘Be grateful that you’re here, be grateful that you’re healthy. When it hurts, and you’re in pain, push through it and do what you do,’” she remembers. In October 2013, Hein underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy, a procedure that would lead to reconstructive surgery the following January—and result in the fearless life of one bad-ass chick.