Sometimes, a little peer pressure can be a good thing.

Until late last year, Egg Harbor Township’s Heather Moller never ran for distance. But after she saw her neighbor and fellow teacher Jen Quade’s passion for the sport and the charity she was running for, Moller became hooked.

Quade ran her first marathon in November in San Antonio, Texas, along with Colleen Bruce, of Seaville, Upper Township, whose mother and father have types of blood cancer. Both ran the race working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, a program that offers hands-on training and a network of coaches and teammates to help raise money for the charity.

When the duo returned, Moller joined Team in Training as well, finishing her first half-marathon in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in March. Moller never thought she could run a full marathon, but when Quade became a mentor for Team in Training and chose the Dublin Marathon in Ireland as her featured race, Moller changed her mind.

Now, Moller, Quade, Bruce, Mays Landing’s Dawn McCourt and Vineland’s Barbara Carrita will all travel to Ireland for the Oct. 25 marathon. Together, the five women will raise about $15,000. A portion of that money will go to expenses, while the rest will go to the charity.

“I told Jen there was no way she was going to Ireland without me,” said Moller, a special-education teacher. “The really great thing is how much we have bonded as a team and developed an everlasting friendship. Jen’s and Colleen’s determination have inspired me and many others.”

Short Stories

Burlington County resident Suzette S. Ritter was so impressed by Ocean City lifeguard Matt Betson that she wrote a letter of praise to the city. The Delran resident said Betson “is just the most incredible lifeguard I have ever seen, and I have been going to your beaches for 37 years.” Ritter said Betson didn’t just whistle swimmers away from the jetty, but he walked over to them and explained the potential hazards of swimming outside the lifeguard flags. “He is especially great with the little kids,” she wrote. “He squats down, talks to them on their level, and is just the most patient person I have ever seen. He is quite the mentor, and I hope to see him next season.” The letter definitely helped: Betson, who lives in Ocean City, was recently nominated as lifeguard of the year. … Cara Owsley, of Buena Vista Township, placed second in the girls 11- to 12-year-old division of the Philadelphia Phillies Home Run Derby at Citizens Bank Park recently. Other area participants, who beat out about 20,000 contestants in local and regional rounds to advance to the finals in Philadelphia, included Egg Harbor Township’s Tori Szrom (Girls 9-10), Barnegat Township’s Matthew Kulpa, the Villas section of Lower Township’s Ken Haungs (Boys 7-8), Millville’s Lucas Mooneyham and Zedekiah Holmes (Boys 9-10), and Ocean City’s Owen Naplacic (Boys 11-12). Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer presented Owsley with a trophy.

Everyone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. To share your story, call Scott Cronick at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at