Steve Scott is quite simply the greatest American miler of all time. There can be little dispute about a man who ran 136 sub-4 minute miles and set the American record for the mile of 3:47.69 in 1982 which stood for 26 years. He was the first world-class runner I ever knew and we began a friendship which lasts to this day. (He’s a frequent visitor to Austin and won the Congress Avenue Mile in 1992.)
About 20 years ago, Steve was training to run one final sub-4 at the age of 40. But instead of going for it, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Rather than staying quiet about it, Scott went public. He and I worked together on a cover story in Runner’s World which detailed his discovery and treatment of the disease, hoping his admission would spur to men have annual checkups.
Then, last Saturday after coaching his collegiate team (Cal State—San Marcos) at a home meet, Scott, who is now 58, made a public announcement that he has been diagnosed with cancer again. This time it’s prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men (more than 29,000), behind only lung cancer.
We exchanged emails this week and Steve wrote that he had no idea whatsoever that anything was wrong this time. “I didn’t have any symptoms at all.”
Fortunately, a routine blood test and a subsequent examination revealed that he was in the early stages. “I’m really lucky that they found it early,” wrote Scott who has been coaching at Cal State—San Marcos for 14 years.
But instead of surgery, Scott opted for proton radiation therapy to get rid of the tumors. (Steve didn’t want conventional x-ray radiation because his father had died from x-ray radiation used to treat his prostate cancer.)
Another factor was “the likely side effects of the x-ray radiation were unacceptable to me,” Scott said, “so I learned about proton therapy which sounded like a better option.”
The cancer hadn’t spread and Steve’s winding up his seventh of eight weeks of treatments. Scott’s continued to coach (his men’s and women’s teams are an NAIA powerhouse) and although he only runs a few miles a day now, at least he can run.
“I feel OK,” Steve wrote. “Everything’s going great. I only have one more week of treatment left and then I’ll be done with this setback.” His optimism is well-founded. About 97 percent of prostate cancer patients who receive proton therapy don’t have a recurrence.
“The reason I am coming out with this,” said Scott, “is for the same reason I came out when I had testicular cancer. I want men to know about the risks, they should see their doctor and get examined. I was fortunate to get checked and diagnosed when I did. The proton therapy is also something a lot of men don’t know about and hopefully, someone will read this and find out more about it.”
He ended our email exchange with this: “When was the last time you saw your doctor?”
Words to live by.
O In the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing about a new 7.3-mile trail which cyclists and runners have been accessing. It’s called the Southern Walnut Creek Trail at Govalle Park and its grand opening is Saturday at 8:30 at the trail head at 5200 Bolm Road, off Shady Lane and Airport Blvd. I haven’t had a chance to long run (or cycle) on it yet, but the 10-foot wide trail goes all the way out through Walnut Creek to Johnny Morris Road and Daffen Lane, right near Decker Lane, across the street from the Travis County Expo Center. Unfortunately, the entire trail is concrete (rats) although there are some areas of packed dirt along the trail’s shoulder once north of Walnut. It’s mostly flat with a few climbs. You can’t access the new trail from the Butler/Lady Bird Trail but it isn’t far from the eastern sections.
O Marathon season in Central Texas got underway last weekend with the Frankenthon Marathon in Cedar Park and the Hill Country Marathon in Marble Falls. In Frank Livaudais‘ baby on the Brushy Park Trail in Cedar Park, Stephen Phillips was the overall winner in 3:10:25 with Sean Lilley second (3:26:14) and Chris Hartley third (3:27:46). First woman was Jessica Forsyth (fifth overall) in 3:35:11, just ahead of Karen Russell (3:40:43).
O The Hill Country Marathon was won by Rob Bladen in 3:40:32 with Michael Bliss second (3:45:13) and Chris Parish third (3:49:46). First woman was 51-year-old Patty Cade (3:54:46), followed by 53-year-old Peri Kowal (3:59:26). In the accompanying half marathon, Adam Waldum ran 1:14:01 to finish first by 15 minutes over the runner up Grayam Sailor-Tynes (1:29:01) and Desiree Ficker in third in 1:34:57.
O So sad to report that 47-year-old Guy Nethery died last weekend after a cyclocross race in Webberville. Nethery, a frequent competitor in The Driveway Series, finished the race on Saturday and rode away from the course, but then collapsed. He was quickly evacuated by an EMT crew to a hospital but was pronounced dead. Evidently, Nethery, who was a systems analyst for Seton Hospitals, had been suffering from some illness before the race. A father of three daughters, the Nethery Education Fund has been established for them (www.gofundme.com/netherygirls) and so far nearly $30,000 has been raised. There will be a gathering of friends and fellow cyclists this afternoon at 3 at La Mancha (2203 Hancock Drive).
O Al Cumming, the grandfather figurehead of Al’s Ship of Fools, completed his 100th marathon on Saturday at the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover, Delaware. The 69-year-old ran 4:56:51. In the same race, Michael Doherty ran 4:46 and then doubled the next day at the Atlantic City Marathon in 5:42.
O Doug Consiglio and his wife Katie O’Reilly had their third child on Sunday—a girl. Doug’s a former Canadian Olympian (1988) who ran a 3:55 mile in his hey day. These days, the former Arkansas miler works as a massage therapist and occasionally assists John Hayes in coaching Leonel Manzano. Katie—Dr. O’Reilly—is a pathologist at Seton. Congrats!
O To those who have asked about Jeff Whitfield, the former Austinite (and stud triathlete) who now works for the Center for Disease Control, he’s doing OK. Whitfield reports on a FB post that he is feeling well and working hard trying to stem the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone.
O We’ll be on hand at the 8th Annual Run for the Water 10-Mile and 5K on Sunday, live tweeting and a race recap shortly after the conclusion.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “The Mystery” by Tommy Emmanuel, the great guitarist from the land of Oz.
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