Stumbled across this Sunday’s run on the Maniacs calendar.  Local charity run in Washington state.  Limited to 50 participants, no set entry fee.  Suggested $25 donation, pay as much as you please – all funds raised, 100% to the cause.

Hooked after reading the site’s About page.  That’s how I chose the big C Marathon.


story behind the big C marathon


I wasn’t going to make this personal but I decided to be honest – it is personal.  On July 25, 2016 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My immediate thought was that I didn’t want to “do” this.  I felt like I had been signed up for a race that I didn’t want to run.  Not only that, it was a race with no set distance (was it a 5k or a 100-miler), I didn’t know how hilly it was, what the elevation was, nor what the weather might be.  The thing about a cancer diagnosis is you don’t know what you’re up against until piece by piece the specifics of your disease are revealed to you.  I soon found myself relying on my marathon experiences to deal with my new situation.  I decided that whatever my path would be, I would have to pace myself and run aid station to aid station.  I had done this many times in the past to break down what seemed like an unusually long, tough race into small, manageable pieces.  Since my diagnosis, I have of course met many other people who have experienced, are experiencing, or love someone who has or is experiencing the big C, and I have found that it unifies people – just like running does.  I have also spent many middle-of-the-night hours searching websites for answers of how to deal with having, and recovering from this.  I kept finding the same thing – exercise helps.  It helps in dealing with the side effects of treatment.  It helps to smooth out the emotional affects of the disease.  And it helps in feeling strong and more in control.


So, this marathon is to remind all of us to set goals, to break scary things down into smaller, more easily-digestible pieces, to keep moving forward, to hold our loved ones in our hearts, and to do something that might be terrifying with dignity – and maybe even a smile.


We welcome ALL paces and would be thrilled if you decided to do this as a tribute to a loved one – knowing that we have your back, and will encourage, cheer, and not leave until you have crossed that finish line…


WOW, right?

Kicked up my daily mileage 2nd half of November.  How fitting would it be to finish this year’s 2,017 miles at an event giving back to cancer?  Ya’ll know I’m goal-determined, hell or high water I’d finish my GOAL miles December 3rd in Puyallup, Washington.

typical Seattle day

Southwest flight to Sea-Tac Saturday afternoon.  Early dinner, early sleeps in Sumner.

Fun story.  Short of time, been scheduling haircuts in marathon locations.  Fort Worth TX, Mankato MN, Dublin Ireland – I’m a guy, it’s just hair.  Googled Sport Clips.  2 in Puyallup, what are the chances?  Arrived at “Sports Cut”.  Shady part of town.  One chair barbershop, older Asian lady with buzz clippers.  Only hair, right? (& only $10)  LOL>

Early Sunday a.m. alarm.  Rain all day yesterday, cool & overcast today.  Morning drive: Cockrell Cider Farms, day’s marathon Start & Finish.  Many thanks for their generosity.  They took NO cash, charged our event nada – 100% charity.

Bib pick-up, $100 donation.  Hope others matched my gift ❤

8am Start.  RD Cat Schwartz read a note from one of last year’s participants.  Sadly he passed away Saturday morning (literally yesterday).  Remember why we’re doing this & remember to smile (her words of encouragement).

Sported a hydration vest today – no cup event.  Less than 4 miles of town/suburbia roads.  Picked up Foothills Trail, a scenic bike path parallel Hwy 162.  Unlike Colorado bike paths, this trail was well-treed (lotta overhanging greenery).  Zagged thru tree nurseries & berry farms, trekked alongside the Puyallup (& later Carbon) River.  Urban-ran ‘cross [the town of] Orting, before rejoining Foothills Trail mile-half from the turnaround.

Mentally significant/symbolic turning the Half.  Chalked on pavement: ‘big C’ & an arrow.  Simple marker but something much bigger rattling in MY head.  Less than a year ago I was undergoing chemo.  Today, once around ‘the big C’ (circled the pavement) & kept running – I moved on, as I now have with life.  HUGE scary part of my past [cancer] but time to let go & move on.  Done.

Slowed significantly 2nd Half.  Skies drizzled, air felt heavy.  No gas in the tank – common complaint all Fall.  Counted only 3 ahead of me first Half.  At least twice that number passed on the 13-mile return.  Ho, hum.  But not really ‘bout the run today, huh?

Finished 4:45, 4:46-ish I think.  Marathon #104, 2nd in Washington.  (No official results yet, will post later).

After party?  Warmed inside ‘the Roost’, Cockrell Farms’ Tasting Room.  FIRST RATE cider, AWESOME post-race chili.

Next weekend, the Buckeye Marathon – scored a cheap (sub $100) flight to Phoenix.  Happy day 🙂


2017  big C Marathon


Name          Bib#     Finish Time


Kyle Saxe                    33  3:35:44

Wendy Hawthorn      24  3:41:27

Shawna Punzalan      19  3:44:54

Chris Owens               32  3:45:39

Jean-Gael Reboul      18  3:58:43

Dan Bucci                   38  4:06:12

Scott Sebelsky            37  4:06:12

Rikki Bogue                4   4:10:02

Tom Owen                  17  4:26:18

Andy Fritz                   6   4:30:13

Nancy Patel                28  4:45:11

Keenan Haga           10  4:46:35


Several of you have asked that we create a Paypal account so you and/or your friends and relatives can donate. Well, it is done – the account is:  And as always, 100% of profits goes to Fred Hutch Cancer Research.  Thanks!  Cat.


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One Response to the big C Marathon

  • Sarah says:

    Yahoo for completing running goals in 2017…. me just in the nick of time! Thanks for being such a running inspiration:) can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us both!

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