From the Heart: Johnny Harr

I have no problem coming up with a list of reasons to skip a workout if I’m not in the mood. For Johnny Harr, he has a valid excuse, but refuses to use it. At 36, Harr was training for a 35 mile endurance run in Montana and started experiencing pain below his ribcage. He thought it was related to pushing his body so hard, unfortunately, it had nothing to do with his training.

Doctors removed a tumor the size of a tennis ball from his colon. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and told his chances of living more than 5 years were between 6-12 percent. Quite the blow for this father of 5, with another one on the way, but Harr refuses to just accept those odds. He continues to run, using it to maintain some balance in his life through all of this. Not just short runs. With chemo in his system, Harr laced up and ran the Eugene Half Marathon in July. I’ve been through chemotherapy and can say running was the furthest thing from my mind. You are nauseous, have non-stop fatigue and the medicines that are ‘saving’ you certainly don’t feel like it.

No excuses, Harr lined up with the other hundreds of half marathoners and took to the streets of Eugene with chemotherapy drugs in his system. ‘If I can run a half marathon with chemo in me, who’s to say that I can’t beat cancer?’  I admire that attitude, that spirit and his intrinsic love of running. I think he’s right, if he can run 13.1 miles during chemo, he most certainly can beat cancer. If you want to check on updates or help the family out with medical expenses, click here.

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