Cancer won’t define me

Posted on Sep 15, 2021, by

Guest blog by Tom Perri, Community First Full Marathon pacer

My name is Tom Perri, and I will be pacing the 5-hour marathon group for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon.

I was first introduced to the Fox Cities Marathon by Ron Goudreau and paced with him in 2008, and I also worked with Dean Peterson and Henry Rueden for the Q & A session multiple times over the years.

This year, I am returning to the Fox Cities Marathon as a Pacer. I don’t know for sure, but I think I have paced this specific event as many times as anyone else as, if not the most times. This will be my 12th time pacing the event.

Many of the race staff, past and current participants, and volunteers that I have met over the years may not know this, but I am currently battling stage 4 cancer.

Here is my story:

“Pacer Tom” was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer on 7/30/19 and he will be pacing the 5-hour pace group for his 12th time as this will likely be his 568th marathon.

Tom first paced this marathon in 2008 and had also assisted multiple times with the Q & A Sessions at the Expo. Pacer Tom is one of the original pacers who has been running for over 45 years and has paced and completed multiple races in all 50 states. Cancer doesn’t tell him what he can’t do, it tells him what he can still do.

Tom’s latest running goal is continuing pacing and running while battling stage 4 cancer.  Tom doesn’t let the two-syllable word “cancer” define him as he replaces it with the more positive two syllable word runner. Cancer will not define him, and he will do his best to overcome it.

He is acknowledged as the only runner in the world with a combined 100K Lifetime Miles, over 2,000 career races, 50 State Club Sub 4 hour Marathon finisher, five time certified 50 State Marathon Club finisher, has completed at least one race on each of the 365 days/date in a calendar year, has over 500 marathons under 5 hours, and a Titanium Marathon Maniac, and in the Marathon Maniacs Hall of Fame.

Tom is one of thirty-seven runners profiled in the book “Running Past Fifty – Advice & Inspiration for Senior Runners” by Gail Waesche Kislevitz. Tom’s significant latest accomplishment was being inducted into the White Castle Hall of Fame as “Craver Manic” where his story will be featured on the Slider box in early 2022.

Pacer Tom is truly looking forward to seeing many of the runners, spectators, and volunteers he has met over the years.

This excerpt was originally published on Click here to read the entire story.

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