Picked up an issue of Runner's World at Target yesterday. Wasn't planning on it, but the cover certainly grabbed my attention: an entire issue dedicated to "outrunning cancer," with a series of different covers featuring cancer survivors.
Haven't dug into all of the articles yet. These two paragraphs at the beginning of the issue, though, from the editor, really struck a chord:
Runner's World has touched on the topic of cancer countless times. Of the 60 people we've honored in our annual Heroes of Running awards since 2004, 10 of them have a connection to cancer. But until now, we've never stepped back to look broadly and deeply at the indelible and powerful connection between running and the disease that--despite a four-decade "War on Cancer"--will kill 570,000 Americans this year. As Writer at Large John Brant reports in "Team Effort," more than $650 million is raised annually by runners to benefit cancer charities.I've had a few things to say about this connection over the years -- and the word that keeps coming back over and over again is "endurance." In the truest sense of the word, you find a way to manage and endure, whether it's a tough hill workout leading up to the marathon, or unexpected complications as a result of chemo.
That's an astounding number, but there's more to this than just raising money. According to a Runner's World survey, 17 percent of runners either have cancer now or had it in the past. For them, running is a form of treatment in and of itself. Some use it as a weapon for fighting back, others as a haven from the ravages of disease. Runner-survivors often talk about having a new appreciation for life, and a fearless attitude. Having faced down cancer, they feel they can handle whatever else comes their way, including running great distances. Conversely, having faced down 26.2 miles or 50-mile weeks or 10 x 800 meters before being diagnosed, runners often feel better prepared to endure chemo, depression, paralyzing fatigue, even the loss of a limb.
Train, endure, achieve, matter. As good of a summary of what Team in Training means as you'll find, conveniently available for review whenever I look at my left wrist.