A good reason to run

Published 9:09 pm Monday, March 30, 2015

As anyone who was up and outdoors early Saturday morning would attest that it was a cold, breezy morning.

As far as I’m concerned, you need a pretty good reason to get up early on a Saturday.

“Early” is a relative term, and I’m talking pre-8 a.m.

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In North Suffolk, hundreds — literally hundreds — all got up early and braved the cold for the same good reason: to raise awareness and money for colon cancer, America’s most deadly cancer.

As I arrived at the Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View at about 7:45 a.m., the parking lot was a sea of people in various contorted poses as they limbered up for the annual Bon Secours 5K for Colon Cancer.

Given how cold it was — yes, I plan to continue harping on that point — I was surprised to see how little many of them were wearing.

They weren’t wearing so little that I was scandalized or anything, but it sent a bold message that they were there to get the blood pumping and pound some pavement.

When the starter beeped, a stream of runners, more than 400 of them, headed off through the Harbour View streets. Many of them were running with heavy hearts, remembering a loved one lost to colon cancer.

I didn’t get up early enough on this cold spring morning to speak to many participants before the race got under way, but each of the two I did approach to ask why they were running cited a lost family member.

For one woman, it was a daughter. For another woman, it was a grandmother.

The community event also catered to beginning runners, with a 1-mile walk. Taking place after the run, it fielded 69 participants, organizers reported.

It was a little warmer by the time the walk got under way. But then the folks were walking, not running, which means their bodies lingered longer in the cold and got less of a chance to warm up.

The combined total of 510 on Saturday was up from 415 last year. It might have been chilly weather, but fighting colon cancer is a pretty good reason to brave it.

In the United States, one in 18 men and one in 20 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer — pretty scary statistics.

There are no early warning signs. Doctors recommend 50-year-olds at average risk should get screened for the disease.