Coach Don Shulman (right) with Running Beyond Cancer team members.

They’ve outpaced cancer, and now the members of our first Running Beyond Cancer training group are gearing up for their goal race next Monday, the New Year’s Day 5K, hosted by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. 

Running Beyond Cancer kicked off in October at the Shady Grove Adventist Aquilino Cancer Center. So far, the members say they are grateful for new friends and the fun they’ve found along the trails. In part one, runner Jason Altschiller shared what the program has meant to him. His running partners agree that the program has been a wonderful tool.

“It is helpful to have a group to run with that understands the toll taken on the body from chemotherapy and other treatments related to cancer, “ says runner Linda Brenner. “We share information about the various treatments and surgeries we have been through, concerns about possible recurrence, and the importance of conquering fears.”  

Linda says she’s appreciated the friendly group of runners, who range from beginners to more experienced racers like Karen DiCamillo. Karen fought back from breast cancer to finish the 2017 Boston Marathon, and also completed the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall.

I have greatly enjoyed running with the group,” Karen saysI started slowly after recovering from running the Marine Corps Marathon.  Now I have a pace coach and runners who we run with weekly.  I enjoy the group dynamic and we all seem to enjoy the community. 

The runners have bonded not just on the roads and trails, but also have learned more about one another over breakfasts and post-workout pizza.  Pervin Antia says she even learned some new things about herself by joining the program. 

I ran last in 7th Grade!” she laughs. I have made awesome friends who urge me on and I truly enjoy it.  I never knew I had it in me. I hope to keep running for a long, long time!

Runner Christine Fattore has also surprised herself. “I have never been a runner — in fact, I have actively avoided it my whole life!  But they have helped me make good progress towards being able to complete the 5K in January,” she says.

“It is a great way to help survivors come back after treatment, build their strength and stamina and have a great sense of accomplishment.”