I can’t say I love running, from 7th through 12th grades I was always running to lose weight for wrestling. Joined the Army and guess what? More running. From my mid 20’s until 49 I didn’t run much at all.
Then cancer strikes, at some point during chemo, I said I was going to “do a triathlon when this was over.” I finished chemo in January of 2016, and in August I did a small sprint triathlon with a pool swim. Didn’t train much – borrowed a bike and finished it.

Then, 6 months later, cancer is back, now spread and not a very good outlook. I had to make significant change. If you haven’t heard my story, I read an article about a study done in the early 80’s that found endurance training builds the immune system from terminal diseases like cancer. Every cancer patient needs hope. You have The Talk and your mind is spinning and you’re looking for a way off the ride so to speak. That article was my hope and my way off the ride. I was caught sneaking onto the Scrambler at the O.L.D.P. Fair when I was probably 9 years old, the carney working it was pointing at me and my friend – he knew and we knew he knew. So as the ride was slowing down and on the opposite side of where that guy was, we jumped, rolled through the dirt so the ride wouldn’t hit us under the fence, and ran! It wasn’t a graceful exit from the ride but dammit I was off, and escaped whatever consequences awaited.

So after my surgery at my follow up appointment my oncologist laid out the plan, “standard protocol” another 12 rounds of chemo, “It is preventative considering we removed all the cancer during surgery.” And this is where I jumped! I told her I wasn’t doing more chemo and that I was instead going from Stage IV to 140.6 and completing a full IronMan. That’s where we parted ways….

Eight months after having half of my left lung removed, I started training for The Rock & Roll Half Marathon. Then a bigger sprint triathlon, The Cajun Man in Lafayette with an 800 yard open water swim! Then another triathlon and another and another half marathon and a full marathon and 4x4x48 then my first ultra marathon, the 50 mile New Orleans Ultra Marathon.

That was over 12 hours of pain, physically, mentally and emotionally that the lead up to the race didn’t prepare me for but it was so rewarding. It was cathartic. It gave me purpose and that purpose morphed into Running for Dreams.

I was running and training as a penance, I felt enormous guilt that I was not only healthy but that I was running literally hundreds of miles.
I’ve run that race again and a 50K and even attempted my Ironman though I missed a bike cutoff and had to shut it down having only done 56 miles on the bike and the 2.4 mile swim but I will reach that goal.

I’m training again to line up and knock out another New Orleans Ultramarathon this October. It may not be the most graceful “exit from the ride,” but I don’t regret my exit ever. I work hard at staying healthy and I look for opportunities to pay it forward helping others that are less fortunate than my family was.

Stay tuned and share my mission with those that need hope.

Gone running,


3 responses to “Why Running for Dreams”

  1. C J Avatar
    C J

    I’m so proud of you. Looking forward to you hitting some of the trails up north!

  2. Paul Queyrouze Avatar
    Paul Queyrouze

    The journey is the prize; and while we are at it, turnaround and help the next one behind and engage in the challenge with those that we meet along the path.

    Way to geaux Phil, journey on!

  3. Gina B Avatar
    Gina B

    Thanks for continue to inspire and provide hope for others, Phil!

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