July 13, 2022 0 Comments
In 2002 I ran my first of 20 marathons. For a decade I was privileged to lead (with remarkable leaders) the marathon clinic at the RunInn (Kerrisdale) and help many amazing people fulfill their goals and check something off their bucket list. It seems like yesterday when I turned 50 (2012) and committed to running 5 marathons that year (Birch Bay, Eugene, Edmonton, Surrey, Honolulu). Towards the end of that year someone said to me, “what are you going to do when you turn 60, run 6 marathons?” I laughed it off as a decision I wouldn’t have to make for another decade. And here we are. 2022.
As runners, we all know the value of setting goals and working towards them. Only set goals get accomplished. They are the bedrock of motivation and the catalyst of determination. As Fred DeVito has said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” So, with my diamond jubilee birthday (2022) fast approaching, I set my sights on a goal. With my recent (2019) diagnosis of multiple myeloma- incurable blood cancer, and ongoing chemotherapy and other treatments, I knew the grind of the marathon, let alone six of them (253.2km!) would be too demanding. But what about running half marathons (easier on the body)? What about running the equivalent distance (253.2km) in the year but spread out over more races? And so my thinking went- maybe I could do twelve half marathons?
In 2019 I was told not to run for the foreseeable future since the myeloma is notorious for thinning/hollowing out the bones from inside (it’s a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow) creating a challenging/dangerous risk of broken bones, among other things. After several rounds of treatment and chemotherapy I was given the green light to return to some light jogging and eventually running (though these days it can be a torturous combination of jog/walk/limp but it’s at least moving forward!).
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
– John Bingham
Just run. In the face of cancer, chemotherapy, treatments, fatigue and pain, my goal has been to “just run” or walk, crawl, jog to the finish. It’s just fantastic to be among runners and experience the nervous energy of the challenge. I’m not focused on the clock, I’m focused on crossing the start line because when that happens the rest is the adventure of the race/journey and the finish is inevitable.
The first time I was able to ‘run’ after many days/weeks/months of uncertainty, felt like a blissful engagement with a familiar friend. It was so good, so nourishing and re-creational to run again—the trail, the muscles, the sun, the sweat the tears…it was all so wonderful!! I began mapping out which races to include in my ‘12 for 60’, seeking to do one per month- more or less, and getting a jump on the race registrations.
Fortunately I have a wife who likes to run (or fakes it well) and has/will run most races with me. Kay is a source of encouragement and support who’s willingness to participate in this crazy challenge has been beyond amazing an indispensable comfort. Once registered and paid, the challenge was/is on! If you’re interested in following the progress, or just seeing the line up of races, the list is below. If you’re interested in learning more about multiple myeloma, please visit www.myeloma.ca
I encourage you to set your goals, pick a race, choose a workout, then lace up your shoes (purchased at the RunInn) and watch the transformation occur!
Never underestimate the power that one good workout can have on your mind.
Keeping the dream alive is half the battle.” –
– Kara Goucher
Phil's Marathon Schedule
Chilly Chase in Vancouver- a cold day and flat run, on January 23.
FirstHalf (virtual) on February 13 - done in South Surrey/White Rock.
Shamrock ‘n Race March 13 - flat course Burnaby Lakes, felt awful that day.
BMO Half on May 1- big race, amazing route, thanks for cheering Kev!
Whistler Half on June 4, awesome mostly trails.
Vancouver Half July 26 - hot, hot, hot!
Fort Langley Half (virtual) on July 9
Handloggers Half (Bowen Island) on September 3
Bellingham Bay Half on September 25
Royal Victoria Half on October 9
Boundary Bay Half November 6
Vancouver Historic Half on November 27