April 23, 2014 4:40 pm

West Island cancer survivor completes Boston Marathon, crediting ‘mind over matter’

Watch: Running for life – a post-marathon interview with Randy Brown

MONTREAL – The Boston Marathon was an event filled with lots of emotions following the bombings last year that left three people dead and more than 200 badly injured.

But there were also many uplifting stories of inspirational runners who overcame their own personal setbacks.

One of those stories was that of Randy Brown.

The West Island native is a two-time cancer survivor and he entered the marathon as a guest.

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Organizers gave Brown a free pass (one of only 11), after learning that he ran last year’s race with his two lungs filled with pneumonia and a cancerous tumour.

“You didn’t have to run,” he told Global News. “The wave of emotion carried you along.

He completed the race, but admitted that it was challenging.

“I had a breakdown at around 20 miles, where I couldn’t process the air any more.”

He went to a medical tent, and it was suggested that perhaps he should call it quits – but Brown continued.

One of his goals was to see his wife along the route, at the 21 mile point.

“As soon as I saw her, I felt encouraged – but then when she was out of eyesight, I started walking and walked the last four miles,” he said.

Watch: West Island cancer survivor to run in the Boston Marathon

Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer last June and had to have part of his left lung surgically removed.

“I would think the Boston Marathon possibly saved my life,” he said.

The 52-year-old was now running with his lungs working at only 75 per cent capacity.

“I’m hoping that this is the last time I have to worry about cancer in Mr. Brown,” said Linda Ofiari, an MUHC Respirologist.

Brown wasn’t planning to push himself for any personal record; he was just hoping to finish the race.

“I explained to them there is no way I could perform to the qualifications of Boston and they said, ‘no, you’re a guest of ours and we’re just honoured to have you run.'”

This is the second time he’s battled cancer.

He was first diagnosed with stage four throat cancer in 2009 and can no longer produce saliva.

He constantly has to drink water to keep his mouth moist.

“I’m glad to be alive,” Brown said.

The West Island native is a home renovator.

He’s been in the business for years but running is his true passion.

He said that he plans to keep on running well after the Boston Marathon.

“It takes my mind off of stress. It just clears my mind. It’s almost euphoric. And I just keep running. I think it keeps me alive.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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