EUGENE, Ore. - Two days before the Eugene Half Marathon, Johnny Harr takes a light jog near his house on the south end of town.
The 36-year-old former college athlete says he s never been more fit.
Hands down, the best shape of my life, said Harr.
He was training for a 35-mile endurance race in Montana when a pain near the bottom of his rib cage prompted a visit to an urgent care facility.
I thought, if anything, maybe it s a hernia because I do push pretty hard. But, cancer or anything related to that -- never would have thought that.
Within days, surgeons removed a tennis-ball-size cancerous tumor from his colon.
The diagnosis got worse.
Follow-up exams revealed that the cancer had spread to Harr s liver.
He said doctors now put his chances at living longer than 5 years at 6 to 12 percent.
But, the father of 5, whose fiance is expecting, refuses to give up.
The difficulty of it is going to be met with how much conviction I have, and belief I have that I can do this and that my family and my children see this and [say], Yeah, dad can do this and if he can t and he does end up losing this battle with cancer he put his best foot forward, Harr said.
Doctors installed a port in his chest for the chemotherapy.
He had his first treatment last week.
The next day, despite being nauseous and fatigued, Harr decided to run.
Today, Harr hit the trails again, and added pull-ups and dips.
The only thing that I know that has enabled me to balance my life out thus far when chaos hits is to go for a run, to exercise. Harr said.
In two days, on Sunday, Harr will join hundreds of other runners at the starting line of the Eugene Half Marathon.
In a show of support, TrackTown USA, which organizes the event, waved his race fee.
He s not sure how hard he ll push himself.
Last year, he won a different half-marathon in Eugene with a time of 1 hour, 28 minutes, 29 seconds. That s a respectable 6:45 minute per mile pace.
But, this next race is about much more than just a fast time.
If I can run a half marathon with chemo in me, who s to say that I can t beat cancer, you know what I mean? My percentages, according to the books and the stats aren t that good you know, but then again I don t think there s very good statistics for someone running a half-marathon while on chemo.