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Wilmington woman on Jeopardy! runs marathon in honor of Alex Trebek

Nichols flew to Hawaii and finished her first marathon on Sunday, in honor of Alex Trebek
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:12 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington woman, who was on Jeopardy back in 2012, was challenged to check off a bucket list item by Alex Trebek, the Jeopardy host at the time.

During some small talk at the end of the show that, keep in mind, Judy Nichols won, Trebek said to her, “I understand that you’re down to very few items on your bucket list, and [being on Jeopardy] was one of them, right?” To which Nichols responded: “And the other is to run a full marathon.”

Trebek then said, “26 miles — that’s a lot of running. Are you sure you want to do that?” Nichols thought about it and said, “Maybe.”

Over the years, the thought was always in the back of her mind to prove to Trebek that she could do it.

Nichols had plans to run the Wrightsville Beach Marathon in 2020, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Now, more than a year later, Nichols decided it was time to give the marathon another go. Only this time it would be in honor of Trebek, more than a year after his passing.

“I kind of felt like, you know, I wanted to honor Alex’s memory and I heard that he had donated $500,000 to the Hope of the Valley rescue mission so they [could] turn a skating rink into housing. I thought, ‘That’s a lot of money, and that’s just a really nice, good thing to do,’” Nichols said. “He had been the recipient of great fortune and he remembered the people whose life had not been as kind or easy.”

So Nichols flew to Hawaii and finished her first marathon on Sunday, in honor of Alex Trebek, while also raising over $800 for that same charity.

“It was a cause that he cared about and I would’ve loved for him to actually know that I did it, but this is the next best thing,” Nichols said.

Nichols committed a famous fail on the show — forgetting to cross out her entire wrong answer before correcting it during Final Jeopardy — she lost all of her money.

After winning two games of Jeopardy and then running a marathon, Nichols said she’s proud of those achievements and hopes someone will follow in her footsteps, even if it’s not 26.2 miles of them.

“I hope that I can inspire other people to go out and do the things that they’ve always wanted to do — you’re never too old, and it’s never too late,” Nichols said.

Nichols also added that flying to Hawaii to run her marathon is another part of the next thing on her bucket list — visiting all 50 states.

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