Ever since I made a decision to run marathons, my friends and family members have continuously asked, “Why do you run?” My response, since fall 2011, has always been the same: “I do not run marathons for myself. I certainly do not run for the bragging rights (only 1% of Americans actually run marathons). I run for you, your children, your friends and family. I run for the next generation of cancer survivors; by running marathons and living a healthy, active lifestyle, I do my part in helping to fight back against cancer.”
Last year alone, more than 7 million people around the world lost their lives to cancer. Another 12 million people have been diagnosed. You see, unlike many things (and people) we encounter in our lives, cancer does not judge. This disease refuses to differentiate and it does not choose sides. Running marathons allows me to make a different in the fight against cancer. With every stride, every lap and every mile I complete, I fight back against cancer for those who have battled the disease.
I’m not going to lie: training is not easy. Anything worth doing takes a lot of time and it definitely has its challenges. There are certain days that I just do not want to run. There are days when my body hurts so badly I just want to give up. But, through it all, I know deep down I can not just give-up. On those days, I have to remember why I am running. Those days are the days that make me stronger and more determined. The days of pain, tiredness, and weakness serve as a constant reminder to me that cancer survivors did not have a choice.
What I’m going through will never compare to the vicissitudes a cancer survivor goes through during chemo or radiation treatments. Training for a marathon does not compare to what a caregiver goes through, as they watch their loved one fight the hardest battle of their life. The days of a challenging run do not even compare to losing a loved one to such a horrible disease!
You see: Cancer never quits, never gives up and never sleeps until either the survivor beats it or it beats the survivor. Cancer survivors never have a day off; they never get to give up on their fight. Why should I?
Everyone is motivated. My reason and motivation is and will always be for the future, the next generation and for all the survivors who have lost their life to cancer!
So, in turn, I ask you the same questions that my friends and family continue to ask me, “What motivates you? Why do you run?!”