LAS VEGAS -- Thousands of runners are preparing to take over the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night to run in the Zappos Rock ‘n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon.
For many, the race is about the challenge and the fitness, but for some runners, such as the Hakes family, there is a personal investment.
Six years ago, Robert and Stacy Hakes met online and quickly learned they had a lot in common.
"My husband and I have both been suffering from colitis for about 20 years," Stacy Hakes said.
The debilitating digestive disease is challenging to deal with.
At my worst time, I was taking 16 pills a day, just to be able to function," she said.
This required the couple to be constantly aware of their surroundings.
"It's a very limiting disease for what you are doing, where you are going," she said. "We could be out somewhere and if I don't feel well or he doesn't feel well, we know what that means. It's not something that can be taken lightly."
Added Robert Hakes, "They understand when one of us isn't up to something, there are times when you can't go to far away from the home."
The couple has handled the illness -- like they have the half marathon -- as a team.
"It is fantastic because you have someone who is right by your side that understands exactly what you are going through," she said.
But Robert is going through even more than the average runner with colitis. He trained to deal with the fact that he has no cartilage in his ankles.
"It's not easy, but compared to what I've been through, I basically conditioned myself with pain thresholds and things like that," he said. "I just work through it."
Their two daughters have spent months helping them prepare, making this a true family affair.
"One of the most rewarding things of my life now that I have been able to get physically active again," he said. "I feel like I am making up for lost time and giving back."
Added his wife, "I don't think I could do it without them. The support has been tremendous."
The hakes raised $82,000 for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation. They are already considering taking part in another half marathon in Chicago next summer.