No one can accuse Karl Keltner of being soft. The former Marine with 20 years of experience as a personal trainer has run 40 marathons; competed in 16 Olympic-distance triathlons; and twice completed the harrowing, hot-as-hell, 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through California's Death Valley. But this Liberty resident has a soft spot for funding cancer research. When the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society asked him to coach its Team in Training program in 1999, the request was based only on his athletic reputation. Keltner didn't have any family members or friends who had been personally affected by the blood-cancer diseases. But over the years, as he has prepared novices to raise money for cancer research by running marathons, he's become a passionate advocate. In 2005, he pledged to run 229 miles at Olathe's Heritage Park. He made it only 160 miles, but he still raised $4,000 for the society doing it. Earlier this year, he set out to run 26 marathons in 26 days around the Kansas City area. His body gave out after 16 days (or 420 miles), but supporters stepped up within a matter of hours, committing to cover the final 10 days, and Keltner's efforts raised $17,000. Forget the California desert; that's what we call hardcore.