A chemotherapeutic drug called Temodal and Telford’s ferocious will have made it possible. She hired a local triathlete trainer, Alyssa Morrison, to design a diet and daily workout regimen, which includes daily runs through downtown Washington. The surgeries have allowed intermittent periods of strength over the past eight years, but Telford has nonetheless defied medical odds by continuing to train for and finish grueling races.
“This still is pretty rare,” said Derek Johnson, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, about Telford’s ability to run with brain cancer. “It is, though, happening more and more commonly than it did in the past. With improved treatments for disease, better surgical options, radiation options, just general improvements in quality of care, I think we see people living longer and living a fuller and more active life than what was possible previously.”
The 37th Marine Corps Marathon begins at 7:55 a.m. Sunday. Rolling road closures will be in effect along the course from 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Ironman course nearly broke Telford two weeks ago. She said she struggled with the open-ocean swim, and steadily vomited as she tried to hold down food on the 112-mile bike portion of the race. She eventually crossed the finish line in 15 hours, 13 minutes and 42 seconds, carrying a flag emblazoned with the names of cancer victims.
Turning around two weeks later for another marathon will be one of the most difficult tests of her life, she said. With uncertainty surrounding her condition and another brain surgery looming in the coming months, this may be the last race Telford runs.
But there is no way she would skip Sunday’s race, she said. The course has changed since 2004, but still makes a loop around Hains Point. Telford covers that stretch regularly, often pausing near the light post that is a reminder of how this all started.
“When I do my runs, and go past that area sometimes, the girls that I run with, we gesture at that light post. Not in a kind way sometimes,” Telford said. “The course has never changed from that area, from where my journey with brain cancer started. I’ll never forget that.”