Anyone that follows Jamie Kerstetter’s social accounts knows her love of dogs, desserts and, well, her dog Crouton. Kerstetter, a BorgataPoker and RunGoodGear Pro, announced that she’ll be running in the New York City Marathon in November to raise funds for the ASPCA.

She announced her goal in the most Jamie of ways:

Kerstetter has a history of running with four marathons under her belt and she ran track at Rutgers – but she said that was a million years ago compared to her readiness now. “I am at about a negative 47 if I had to rate myself right now,” she said. “Poker can lead to a pretty sedentary lifestyle if we’re not careful and… I have not been careful. I’m running about three miles at a time now, but confident I’ll be able to run the whole thing by November.”

Kerstetter’s family has a history of rescue animals – something that she’s carried into her own life. “My family adopted Weezer from Animal Rescue Force and I scooped Crouton from the Humane Society of Atlantic City,” she said. “I have adopted cats from ASPCA too, but I chose to run for this charity because they do a lot to prevent cruelty to animals, including working to shut down dog fighting and puppy mills.”

“Okay, the real reason is so I can watch those sad commercials with Sarah McLachlan without dying from guilt.” She joked, “I want all those tears back.”

Training for a marathon requires a huge time commitment, Kerstetter has Crouton to help her with training. “As soon as I put on the first sneaker, he is one inch from my face, begging to come with me,” she said. “He is a little annoying on runs because he just wants to chase bunnies and pee on stuff, but who doesn’t?”

Crouton Poker Book
Crouton helps Jamie train for the marathon and study the game. (Photo: Kerstetter)

The NYC Marathon began in 1970 with a few dozen runners and grew to over 50,000 participants in 2016. The course winds through all five boroughs before ending in Central Park.

Kerstetter has a $5,000 fundraising goal to benefit the ASPCA and already passed the halfway mark in just a few days. “I can’t believe how much money people have donated. I thought I would be hustling hard to reach my fundraising goal by November, but poker players have been so generous,” she said.

“Maybe because we see money come and go so quickly in this profession, it makes poker players more willing to part with money for causes we believe in,” Kerstetter said. “Whatever the reason, I’m impressed at the generosity of my friends and extremely grateful to the community for helping me contribute to a cause I really care about.”

“I challenge anyone who has their heart set on a “designer dog” – please go to three shelters first and give all of the homeless dogs a chance,” she said. “If you can turn them all down, then buy the dog that you wanted. But most people will meet a shelter dog and fall in love on the Spot (dog joke!) and forget that they ever wanted anything else.”