A Different Kind Of Race Recap

One thing I have come to realize under my new role as “cancer patient,” is that not all “cancer patients” are into fundraising and charity.

It’s not that we don’t want to help others, it’s just that we’ve become the faces that need to be helped. And to be perfectly honest, we don’t need healthy people reminding us that we need help by running and doing things that us sick people can’t do. I don’t speak for everyone here obviously, but you know, sometimes it stings.

Under my new role as cancer patient, I also now know what is really helpful to fellow patients and the people that love them. A CURE. For all kinds of cancer.


It is with this that I laced up my sneakers on Sunday with my mother and step-sister to participate in the Terry Fox run. One of the organizations out there who I feel is really dedicated to finding a cure, and one of the top funders of cancer research in Canada.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Terry Fox, he attempted to run across the country in what he called “The Marathon of Hope” in 1980 after losing his leg to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. He did it in the name of cancer research, asking just one dollar from every Canadian. He died before he made it across the country. No wonder, I cannot fathom attempting such a feat with this disease.


I’ve participated in this event a few times before, but it was surreal being there on such different terms this year. Last time I ran it was two years ago, back when I was at the top of my game. This year, I walked the 5k in one hour.


Also surreal was not only writing the name of my uncle down, but also seeing my own name down with those affected by cancer.



What I like about this event is that there is no fundraising limit, no timing chips, no stress. You just show up, donate want you want, and go as fast as you want. You can even bring your dog if you want to!


Hopefully next year I’ll be healthy enough to RUN the 5k again. Although, walking along and chatting with friends and family was great too. I mean, why outrun cancer? No freakin’ way it’ll ever catch me anyways.


In participating, I donated some money from The Great Fundraising Act fund. Spreading your dollars just a little bit further, in hopes of saving another Terry Fox, another Uncle Bob, and of course – ME!


Because cancer really is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Likely the hardest one me, and so many others, will ever have to run. Events like these remind me that I’m not alone in this, and that I’ll eventually reach the finish line.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in Cancer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. walking the 5k in one hour is still a good pace. In fact, walking is sometimes harder than running, in my opinion!
    I am so glad you posted this. I was thinking about it the other day, the real reason why we run races, train ,etc. It can get so narcissistic at times, but this, well its the reason why we celebrate life and appreciate our bodies abilities!

    • Exactly! I actually felt great being able to participate even though I can’t run. There were times in the hospital where I was so weak I couldn’t walk down the hall. These days, just being alive and outside is a thrill enough for me :)

  2. I think walking 5k in an hour is pretty impressive! Congratulations! I love the photos of the names written in chalk…kinda made me a bit teary-eyed.

  3. Just great stuff! Looks like it was a beautiful day for the event. What a good showing you had, given your circumstances. And I love what cottercrunch said…about celebrating life and the immense miracles of human bodies of all shapes, sizes, and states of health – in the present moment.

    Also – it was great to hear about the significant improvement in your chest xray too! You’re well on the way to restored health. Love the notion of cancer as a marathon…not a sprint. My closest friend (who NEVER smoked) was diagnosed 3+ years ago , at 51, with stage 4 lung cancer and not expected to last a year. She and I walked about 3 miles yesterday, briskly, and she’s doing great. Cancer isn’t gone, but it’s stable and she’s living fully and vibrantly with it…in other words – she’s in the marathon, celebrating LIFE.

  4. Seeing your name written on the pavement was sobering; seeing it “in print,” in that way, felt like cementing the reality of your situation. On the other hand, there was an equal dollop of, “Fuck you, cancer,” in reading of your participation in, and completion of, the 5k. Go, you! :-)

  5. Beautiful post Susan! Love the Terry Fox run, what a special event!

  6. I hope next year you can run it too! I’m sure you’ll be able to with how awesome you’re doing and looking.

  7. Congrats Susan! I know you will be able to run it this time next year!

    and yes I agree you look amazing :)

  8. I agree with Lindsay, completely. And I love the message behind your post, around cancer being a marathon…indeed it is, but you are taking it one day at a time, pacing yourself, and I think it is doing wonders, probably mentally and physically, for you! I love all the chalk writings, that is so great.

  9. This post is so beautiful. I’m a hot mess over here crying first thing in the morning reading it. Your spirit and determination are an inspiration!

  10. Loved the last few lines, friend. You will indeed!

  11. :) Thank you for sharing, you will be running this event next year!!!!

  12. Dude, you just made me cry at my desk at work. Not cool.

  13. Thanks for sharing Susan! You can always make this a yearly event for you forever, as sort of a touchstone. Whether you walk it, run it, volunteer for it or write about it!

  14. I love all the chalk “graffiti” :) I love the Terry Fox foundation- it is one I definitely trust as well.

  15. Great race report! I love the chalk names! Sometimes I feel like people who are runners do events really more for themselves then the people they are raising money “for”… I know that’s okay sometimes (I mean I guess either way earns the money) but it’s nice when people are truly passionate about what they are raising money for :)

  16. Walking a 5k is a great workout. I love that it was for the Terry Fox organization. My uncle has a sarcoma (Ewing’s) and it’s a type of cancer I wish I’d never heard of (if that makes sense. Hate it.) We’ve read a lot about Terry Fox!

    Glad you were able to walk it! And yes, hopefully run it again soon! I wish we had a race like this near me.

  17. As a fellow Canadian there is a special place in my heart for Terry Fox’s story…It’s unfathomable to me…

    Great post my dear!

  18. Such a beautiful post. You have a way with words that is truly remarkable Susan!

  19. Beautiful post. You are the most fabulous writer and what a great take on the event.
    So glad you were able to participate, for yourself and for so many others!

  20. Any race that allows dogs is fine by me. I am chiming in with the others and saying you are an amazing writer and an amazing person–but you knew that :)

  21. LOVE this! you have such a generous giving spirit – more people need to be like that! <3

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