Family, friends honor judge by running for a cure

SALT LAKE CITY – Judge Anne Stirba wasn’t a runner.

But she was an activist, and her husband believes she would love enticing families and even her fellow jurists out once a year to run, walk or jog five kilometers to try and eradicate the disease that stole her life in 2001.

“Anne was a beloved person in her many roles,” said her husband Peter Stirba, who created the Judgesrun 5K race to honor her life of service. The event celebrates 15 years with the next race Saturday, June 9 at 8 a.m. “She was committed to public service and was heavily involved in community work, both legal and otherwise. Anne was raised with the premise that as one is blessed, one gives back as a way of giving “thanks”, and also as a way of trying to “make a difference”. I think she would think that what I do and what our Foundation does in support of Huntsman exemplifies the way she lived her life.”

The race cost of the race is covered by race sponsors so every penny of race entry fees goes to Huntsman Cancer Institute. The race, which begins at Highland High, navigates Sugarhouse park and ends at Wasatch Presbyterian Church, has been recognized repeatedly as one of the best independent races. This year is it’s 15th anniversary and Stirba and his supporters hope they can raise $15,000. The race raises somewhere between $7,500 and $10,000 each year for cancer research.

“I am always grateful for the participation of our registrants and the generosity of our Race sponsors,” said Peter Stirba, one of the state’s prominent attorneys. “Every dollar we can provide to Huntsman means ultimately we are a dollar closer to the elimination of breast cancer and it’s very adverse impact on women’s health and the families impacted.”

He said the chose a 5K race to honor her in 1997, and just 12 runners showed up that first year. Anne’s fellow judges, especially Judge Tyrone Medley, Judge Sandra Peuler, Judge Kim Hornack and Judge Michele Christiansen have been long time supporters of the race and the cause.

“It is a 5k because it started that way,” said Peter Stirba. “So now it’s tradition. A 5k is a basic race distance and allows walkers, kids, canines and others participate and enjoy the morning. We have been described as the best low key, “mom and pop” 5k event in the state. We intend to keep it that way so everyone can enjoy the event and feel a sense of community in the shared experience of helping the research efforts at Huntsman.”

And he believes that his wife, who battled breast cancer for 10 years before succumbing to the illness in 2001, would be proud of the legacy created by her life and spirit.

“She knew the struggle and fear of this dreaded disease acutely,” said Peter. “Knowing that we are helping to eradicate it and giving hope and joy to survivors I know must please her in the profoundest of ways.”

Prizes are given to top runners in age and time categories, as well as walking awards. Registration can be found at, on the foundation’s website and participants can register the morning of the race prior to the 8 a.m. start time.

One comment

  1. Heather Cooke

    Three years before she was diagnosed, Anne and I worked together at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We were friends – both attorneys, federal prosecutors, and were both happily married to men named Peter. In the ensuing years, we both contracted breast cancer, but Anne’s took hold twenty years earlier than mine and, in spite of a valiant ten-year battle, it overcame her. For no good reason, my breast cancer didn’t appear until an era had evolved where mammograms are readily available, arguably accurate, and highly publicized and encouraged. Because of that, my condition was detected and treated at its earliest possible stage, leaving me to run in races like Susan G. Komen and and the JudgesRun. I don’t know why I was destined to escape the fate that took my friend and mentor, Anne Stirba. But I do I feel a responsibility to shout out at the top of my lungs for women everywhere to get a mammogram, get it NOW, get it regularly. I think my heroine Anne would want it that way.

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