July 13th, 2021 was the first time in my forty some years, I had someone really close to me say “I have cancer”.
I was making my way home from the office when I received a call asking if I could drop by. These calls are not something I receive during the work week typically. This was a first indicator something was out of the ordinary. I walked in the door and took a look around the room, a question “Is this a stand up or sit-down conversation”. It was a sit-down conversation, the news was delivered. A gastroscopy was conducted to determine what was causing a challenge when eating. A diagnosis of esophageal cancer came back for my father. After the initial shock, we discussed what next steps were. Being very early in the diagnosis, there was not much known about what would come over the next few months.
What I did know was my mentor who was always so strong and stoic, continued to show great strength and a positive outlook. He was facing the diagnosis head on and was going to take every opportunity to kick cancer.
So how does running an Ultra Marathon tie into this fundraiser?
I am an IT Executive, a little out of shape and looking to become healthier. My running career started with a short leg on a relay team participating in the Sinister 7 Ultra marathon in 2018. I then moved on to my first trail half marathon in 2019, it went okay. My big race was to take place August 2020, a 54Km run up over the mountains in Kimberly B.C. Unfortunately the event was cancelled like so many others, as a result of covid. A deferral until 2021 was granted, my training slowed. It is amazing how quickly nine months passes, I suspected the race would be delayed another year. I believe it was May of 2021, word was received the race was on. My limited training schedule over the winter required me to ramp up quickly, keep in mind….. I am not a real avid runner. I started to advance quickly with my wife along side, my untrained body was pushed past it’s limit. By June I was unable to cover more than 10km without experiencing significant pain. In early July I was considering pulling out of the race, and then my family received the news.
I made the decision to continue with a modified training plan and race approach. I think it was a way of maintaining control of something in my life, while my family was experiencing so many unknowns. I never told anyone, but this was my way of showing my dad I was fighting along side him. A day before leaving for the race, a schedule for the first element of treatment was received. He would start radiation the Monday I returned from the Kimberly. Race day arrived, I started the mental preparation to tackle the mountain. I worked my way through the course, running the first 14km and covering 850 vertical meters, and then my injury surfaced. I power hiked the balance of the race, mostly in the rain with occasional stops for a stretch. After 11 hours and 45 minutes I completed the race, it was my father’s positive attitude and unwavering dedication to his family is what gave me the strength to keep going.
So where does it go from here?
My training is back on track , and I am ready to take on the mountain again. August 20th 2022 I will be participating in the Blackspur Ultra Marathon, in Kimberly British Columbia. My race consists of three separate segments totalling 54km and 2230 vertical meters. This is my way of giving back to those that give families hope and bring opportunities to our loved ones. The Alberta Cancer Foundation conducts world class research and provides treatment to the people of our great province. Please consider pledging a few dollars to my adventure, it will help us beat cancer.
This year my father will be cheering me on!
If you are interested in following my journey, checkout my website at https://running4acure.com/ .