Seven years ago, BRO editor-in-chief Will Harlan needed emergency surgery after a portion of his colon twisted shut upon itself. It was a close call, and the Asheville GI docs were essential in saving his life. Ever since, he has been running the Rear in Gear 5K, the annual race that the Asheville GI docs organize.
For the sixth straight year, Harlan won the event. As he has aged, his times have slowed, but the 39-year-old runner hung on for one more year. He barely finished ahead of NOC Vice President and uber-athlete Jay Curwen.
Best of all, says Harlan, was another runner gaining on him: his seven-year-old son River. He ran the hilly 5K —without once stopping to walk—in 32 minutes.
Harlan says that the race itself is one of the most powerful and touching 5K events he’s ever run. The Rear in Gear 5K honors victims of colon cancer and celebrates survivors, some of whom speak at the awards ceremony afterward. Many runners and walkers on the course have names of loved ones fighting colon cancer printed on their shirts.
“Compared to their suffering, my pain seems small,” says Harlan.
The race benefits the Colon Cancer Coalition and helps to raise awareness about the importance of unpleasant but life-saving colon cancer screenings.
Read the story and see the full results here.