Fighting cancer, mile after mile
September 19, 2012
Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. - On Sept. 23, Army Contracting Command-Rock Island Procurement Analyst Chris Calhoun will join thousands of other runners challenging themselves to make it through 26.2 miles during the 2012 Quad Cities Marathon. At the beginning of September, Chris was planning on running the half marathon, but changed his mind with less than a month to go.
So, what caused Chris to decide to double his mileage in such a short period of time? His father, Harry Calhoun, was diagnosed with prostate cancer just before Labor Day.
"I decided to run this marathon in honor of my father's cancer fight," said Chris. "The plan, originally, was to run the half, but his cancer diagnosis kind of sped up the timeline to run a marathon."
The Quad Cities Marathon supports the Quad Cities Prostate Cancer Initiative and Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network, according to the Quad Cities Marathon website. The Quad Cities Marathon has raised more than $40,000 for education and awareness in the Quad Cities area.
Chris's father is aware of his decision to run the marathon and has expressed some concern.
"He was pretty concerned at first," said Chris. "He wasn't quite sure why I decided to do this at the last minute. I told him it really wasn't a last-minute decision because I had been training for the half, and this is just a bump up."
Training began this spring, when, one day, Chris was climbing the stairs to the third floor of his building and found himself out of breath.
"It was a real wake-up call," said Chris. "Since then, I've been working out and have lost 40 pounds."
Chris is realistic about the possibility of an injury but said he is taking special care of himself -- eating healthfully, not pushing himself too hard and doing extra stretching. On race day, he said he is planning on taking it slow and easy, as opposed to pushing himself as he has during recent lower-mileage races.
"I feel that I am very well prepared for the half and hopefully that will eliminate anything happening," said Chris. "Should it happen on the course, it will depend on the severity of the injury if I'm going to be able to limp in, walk in or finish in good shape. I plan on finishing unless something really severe happens."
Several members of the Calhoun family will also participate in the Quad Cities Marathon, in the One Mile Walk for Prostate Cancer.
"The fire inside of us was telling us we needed to do something to support this and deal with this the best way we can," said Chris. "There's a lot of support in the family as a way to wrap our arms around what's going on and do our part too. We have matching shirts that have a picture of my father on the shirt with a nice little saying that we're running to support him."
After his family members finish the one-mile walk, they plan on driving around to different parts of the course to cheer on Chris and the other runners.
"Really, where I'll need the encouragement is in the second half of the course because I know I can make the first half without issues because I've been out doing that mileage the past three weekends. It's after 13 miles where I am hitting the mileage that I have never done before. Any support I can get out there will be great. It's amazing what clapping and cheering can do."
For more information on the Quad City Marathon, including routes, times, last-minute sign-up details, and more information on the Quad Cities Prostate Cancer Initiative, visit http://qcmarathon.org/