For some it was their first and for others, their one hundredth, but for some members of the Golden Triangle Strutters, the Gusher Marathon was important, because they were running for Shannon Larson, who is in his third bout with brain cancer.
“It feels great to know that I’m not just being supported by my family but, my wife’s a runner I’m not, but by the running community, they have kind of embraced me and it feels great,” said Larson, an Assistant Principal for Westbrook High School in Beaumont.
Larson was first diagnosed with cancer in 2001, and now bravely prepares for his second stint of chemotherapy. Seeing her husband's courage, his wife Jamie trained for her first marathon, which she ran in his honor.
“It was about on par with my training, my training got up to about twenty miles, but then the last six miles, I had never covered that distance before,” said Larson. “So when I got to mile 20 I thought ‘hey, if Shannon can get ready and do chemo in a little while, I can do the next six miles’, and that’s what kind of made me go through the marathon.”
Anthony Mireles, who completed his 100th marathon on Saturday while honoring Shannon, echoed Jamie’s thoughts.
“He’s got it a lot tougher than we do,” said Mireles. “As we’re just running our marathon. So I made an extra effort to go a little faster.”
So many competitors, so much to run for. And Shannon Larson cheerfully watches it all, with his own competition in mind. One he plans to win. The marathon to survive.
“I mean I have friends that have passed away from cancer,” said Larson. “You know I have some survivor’s guilt, if you will, about some of it. But you know, with faith and support, it's very helpful.”