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By DENNIS GRUBAUGH

Litzenburg-DeannaLitzenburg    Deanna Litzenburg is a runner — preparing for work, during work, even outside of work.
    The shareholder and vice president at Mathis, Marifian & Richter Ltd. in Belleville is a busy attorney, specializing in commercial litigation, worker’s compensation and creditor rights.
    Deanna originally worked at a large firm in St. Louis, exclusively dealing with worker’s comp, but she wanted variety and took up commercial litigation and medical liability cases when she joined MM&R in June 2001.
    A native of Carlyle, she lives with husband Dean in Highland, along with  14-year-old daughter Allie, who plays volleyball, and 11-year-old son Dylan, who plays football. She greatly enjoys being involved in their activities.
    It was her daughter who unwittingly triggered her passion for running, when the youngster came home from school several years ago with an idea to run in a 5K race in St. Louis, called Girls on the Run.
    Deanna signed her daughter up only to realize later that Mom needed to be a “running buddy” as part of the event.
    “I had six weeks to go from sitting on the couch to running in my first 5K,” she said. She became so enamored with the activity that she now runs three to four times a week and has participated in three half marathons — 13.1-mile races.
    All the half marathons have been fundraisers for Team Activities with Special Kids, a nonprofit sports organization that goes by the name T.A.S.K. It was founded by a relative who was interested in improving the welfare of children with disabilities, everything from blindness to learning impairment. Together, supporters have raised some $2.5 million toward a capital campaign for a facility to house the programs. That facility is located in Fenton, Mo., and is being developed as money is raised.
    The practice of running mentally puts her in a good place as she mulls the workday.
    “You start out stressed and process a lot of things while pounding the pavement,” she said.
    Husband Dean has been a “huge supporter,” helping her deal with a busy schedule even as he works at his position with AT&T.
    She said she is also appreciative to past and present colleagues who have served as mentors through the years. One in particular is former MM&R partner Laura Grandy, who is now a U.S. District Court bankruptcy judge. Grandy really helped her develop career skills, she said.
    A graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law and from Southeast Missouri State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy, she is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and Alumni of Leadership Belleville program through the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce.