Tucked into the crowd on the Times Colonist 10K route today will be Nadine Padur-Rose, who is returning to the race after a one-year hiatus
A breast-cancer diagnosis kept the 48-year-old food-sales representative from toeing the start line in 2011, but she's back and shooting for a personal-best clocking this time around.
Padur-Rose was diagnosed last February, not long before the TC 10K in April. After undergoing chemotherapy, she was told to forgo the race because the treatment had compromised her immune system.
Being around the large crowd at the event was deemed too risky.
"Even though I was still running at that point, I decided not to participate," Padur-Rose said.
But since she was still signed up for the race, she went ahead and collected her 10K T-shirt, maintaining a string of shirts dating back to 2000, when she moved to the capital region.
Not long after the 2011 TC 10K, Padur-Rose had to stop running altogether as she underwent more chemotherapy sessions.
"It was always with the knowledge that I was going to get back to it," she said.
"Literally three weeks after my last chemo, I started running again."
All told, she spent about five months away from running. Padur-Rose said her post-treatment running has gone very well.
"I've never been this fast," she said. "It's amazing how motivated you are after something like that.
"You just realize that you have something to prove."
She has knocked her personal-best time for the 10-kilometre distance down to 45 minutes, 59 seconds, which she ran a few weeks ago at the Sooke 10K and hopes to top today.
Whether TC 10K participants are looking for a personal record, as she is, or just striving to finish, Padur-Rose said there is another incentive that brings people out: "Everybody's doing it for their health and to improve their life."
For 51-year-old Jim Gibson, who will be walking the route with his wife, Jane, just being able to put one foot in front of the other is nothing short of amazing.
Jane explained that her husband was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour seven years ago and given less than a year to live.
"It's a miracle - he is a miracle," said Jane. "He's stable and he's walking it, and it's wonderful. He started walking the 10K four years ago."
Included in the 2012 crowd will be 371 teams, each made up of a minimum of 10 people. Race director Jacqui Sanderson said 49 of the teams are from schools and the rest are corporate entries.
As always, Sanderson is looking forward to the special atmosphere that comes with the event, even for officials like her who are not in the field. "It's neat to be at the start line and just feel the energy."
Wheelchair athletes start at 7: 50 a.m., while runners and walkers make their mass 10K start at 8 a.m.
The Thrifty Foods Family 1.5K Run begins at 11 a.m.
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