by Chris Brewer
This Monday over 27,000 people will challenge the famed 26.2 mile point to point course in the 116th running of the Boston Marathon. Among those thousands of runners is different kind of elite athlete, namely the members of Team LIVESTRONG. “We have over 20 amazing people who have raised over $80,000 to support the LIVESTRONG mission – thank you!” said project manager Tom Whiteside.
And among that select group is a runner from Austin, Iram J. Leon, or just “J” as his friends call him. Not too long ago, he was wondering if he’d ever be able to even walk again following surgery and treatment for brain cancer. “I’ve never done a point to point marathon, it’s always been a loop, and from what I hear there are a lot of people all along the route watching and cheering, which is very different for a marathon,” he said in an interview from LIVESTRONG HQ . “People say you literally get to be a rock star for a day, and I’ve never experienced that so I am definitely looking forward to it!”
Boston is known for its challenges, especially Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21. But a late start – around 10am – and the forecast are also top of mind. “The weather report isn’t too good right now, but then again it wasn’t very good when I qualified for the race, so either way I’m going to lay it all out on the course. The high right now is for 74F, and that’s tough for running a marathon.” But J also has a secret weapon in his 5 year old daughter, “I’m actually having my little girl write me a message on my yellow wristband next to my watch so when I look down it’ll encourage me, especially for the difficult parts.”
“It really means a lot to run for Team LIVESTRONG,” he said wrapping up. “There were races before and there will be races after, but I postponed brain surgery so I could run and qualify for Boston. So this is more than a race for me, it’s a mile marker. Coming back from brain cancer, this is literally how I got back on the road.”
And speaking of being on the road again, next up for J is a brand new challenge, as in the Davis LIVESTRONG Challenge June 24 in California. He and I will be training to do the 100 mile route – his first “real” bike ride ever – and we’d love for you to be a part of this, too! More on this soon, but for now here’s wishing J and his great teammates a safe and successful race at Boston, thanks for ALL you do!