I'd like to thank all the runners who sent in their stories. Each email was unique and wonderfully inspirational. Over the next several weeks I'll be posting the submitted stories. Since Thomas won the Gift Card drawing, I'm featuring his story first. In his own words, this is how running has changed Thomas' life.
I never really liked or enjoyed running. I always seemed to run out of breath doing so. I started running in 2005 out of guilt and remorse. We received heartbreaking news that my grandma had passed away. We lost her to cancer. I was very close to my grandma and regretted missing the chance to say good-bye. Worst, I couldn't help but feel like a loser. I was ashamed to be a cancer researcher.
I went through a difficult grieving period, and spent most time in my laboratory at work. I became even more determined than ever to help find a cure for cancer, but I was frustrated by slow progress and politics at work. I came home mostly depressed, and sadly, withdrawn from my family. I felt like a lost soul, until my good friends, Kuldeep and Eddie, introduced me to running. It was a major turning point for me. I ran the Chicago Marathon in October 2005 in memory of my grandma.
My first marathon ignited something within me that I never knew existed--I really enjoyed long-distance running. And the pain that I experienced was strangely a good kind of pain and addictive. It also gave me a connection to my grandma somehow, like she was watching. In 2006, I ran 12 marathons to celebrate my grandma’s life. I have never stopped running since.
Running not only provides me an avenue to reconnect with my grandma, it in turn reminds me to stay on course and focus on my job. As a cancer drug discovery researcher, I know first hand that it takes many years to develop a drug. The battle with cancer will continue and it will be long and challenging, but just like running, I know we will eventually get to the finish line. —Thomas