Thomas Perri set to run his 29th Grandma’s & 650th Marathon while battling cancer
Thomas Perri is about to participate in his 29th ever Grandma’s Marathon. However, the journey to get to this point has not been an easy one as in 2019 Perri, now in his early 60s, was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.
Since that point however, he has competed more than 150 marathons/ultras.
“My personal toughest day was July 30th, and it was like, how is this going to impact me? Am I just going to give up on life, am I going to sit on the couch and drool. I knew I had treatments coming up, I knew had surgeries coming up, I knew had medication coming up. Was I going to give that all up or just go out and do the best I could,” said Perri.
Perri, a Maple Grove, Minnesota native, began his third round of treatments this past May with his last day of radiation scheduled for June 16th, 2023.
Using the William A. Irvin 5k on Friday night as a celebration and pacing the 6-hour marathon group on Saturday.
“It was truly amazing to me to see how many people were affected and how many people have been supportive through the process. Whether it be a fellow runner, a friend, a family member. It has all been a huge help for me,” stated Perri.
The training and running never stopped, he is one of the only runners with at least 26 marathons in three of the oldest Minnesota marathons – Grandma’s with 28, Twin Cities and Med City (in Rochester) with 26.
“My friends kept saying, keep doing marathons. You’ve been pacing the 5k’s, let’s start doing the marathons. It wasn’t until 2002 when I met some of these people in the 50 State Club that that became my goal. Now I have ten races, at least ten races in all 50 states except Hawaii, which I’m at nine. My average state count is around 20 to 25 races in all 50 states,” Perri continued.
Perri is a shining example of perseverance for all, with his hope to eventually reach 2,500 career races, he currently sits at 2,339.
“I truly treasure each race I do, whether it’s a 5k or marathon, because I do not know when my last race is going to be, so I truly treasure it. Grandma’s is going to be a true treasure because I’m not guaranteed I’m going to be back next year. I’m going to enjoy every second on that course. There’s no such thing as pain or discomfort on that course, it’s true joy to me,” concluded Perri.