Three years ago this weekend, I ran my first race — the 2012 Undy 5000. I did this as a symbol of fighting back from only three months earlier having fought colon cancer… and won.
Three years downstream, and twenty-six races later, I returned to the Undy this morning, running my fourth race in this series. The Undy is special to me, as it benefits the Colon Cancer Alliance, whose sole focus is to aid patients, survivors, caregivers and anyone affected by colon cancer. Of all the races I run, this is the only “fundraising” race in which I participate. That’s how important this is to me.
The weather was cold, and I knew it would be. However, the sun peeked out from the clouds, and helped bring a little warmth to the park. But, I was still glad to have all the cold-weather running gear I’d been investing in this winter.
In the opening remarks, the MC indicated that there were 2000 folks registered, with about $150,000 raised. If you’re reading this, you may have helped either support me, or donated your money. Either way, I thank you for that. It was also announced that St. Louis is the biggest Undy event for CCA. I’m a little surprised at that, as this is run in eighteen cities, some of which are much larger than Da Lou: Denver, Atlanta, Philly… We were the largest Komen race for a while, so maybe we just like to run and fundraise out here!
The course, while still at Forest Park, was different this year due to some parking lot construction at the site of the Muny. Because of that change, the course was much flatter this year, and much easier to deal with. With the new path through Forest Park, terrific traffic control, and a well placed water stop that you could pass twice, this was an ideal course.
I did have a surprise about a kilometer into the race. There was some crazy redhead yelling at me from the sidelines, and I went over to her. A hug, a kiss, and I was on my way. I’ve never had that happen during a race! She looked an awful lot like Darla, but that could’ve just been the sun in my eyes. 🙂
And as I approached the finish line, Darla was waiting for me, cheering me on. There’s no better sight than that.
I got my post-race snacks, and waited for the closing ceremonies. We all listened to a survivor and her story, and then the cool thing about this event took place.
All 71 colon cancer survivors and patients were invited to the front to receive a medal honoring their fight. This is an amazing feeling, having almost two thousand people cheering their support for your fight.
And that’s what this race is about — supporting everyone who’s been impacted by this terrible disease. I was supported during my battle; why wouldn’t I return the favor?
(Tomorrow is Race #28, and the last of this series of races for me until later in the Spring.)