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Running to End Pancreatic Cancer

Tom began running after his father’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Tom and his wife, Laura, after running a race for Project Purple, a nonprofit whose mission is to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Tom and his wife, Laura, after running a race for Project Purple.

Everyone runs for a reason. Sometimes you run for yourself, sometimes you run for others, sometimes you run for a cause. Like many runners, Tom Hamann does all three. Tom runs to improve his health. He runs to honor his father’s memory. And he runs to end the disease that took his father (TBird), pancreatic cancer. Read Tom’s edition of My Running Story and learn why he lends his legs and his miles to a cause that’s near to his heart. Lend your legs and miles during your Austin Marathon training when you run on behalf of an official Austin Gives Miles charity.

Running to honor his father’s memory

In 2016, my dad – who I always referred to by his nickname “TBird” – was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I started running soon after. It helps keep me positive and healthy. Last February, I planned to visit TBird in Austin with my wife Laura and our boys Max and Joe. We live in Michigan. I thought this might be our last visit with my dad. I signed up to run the Austin Marathon 5K during our visit. My boys were registered for the Manzano Mile

Tom's father, TBird, with his two grandsons before he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tom’s father, TBird, with his two grandsons.

My dad didn’t make it that long. He declined rapidly the weekend before the race. Laura and I flew down right away to be with TBird. We were with him when he died on February 14, 2019. Worst Valentine’s Day ever. I decided to run as many events as I can to help raise money for pancreatic cancer charities. I’m doing this in my dad’s name and to help others suffering from this terrible disease. In May 2019, I did my first half marathon in Chicago, running for Project Purple.

Returning to Austin

My family is coming back to Austin to honor my dad on the first anniversary of his passing – Friday, February 14th. Max and Joe are going to do the Manzano Mile on February 15. I will run the Austin Half Marathon on February 16th. We’re excited for this trip back to Austin; I just wish my dad were still here to join in the fun. 

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, and Samantha Santos.

Valentine’s Day Running Love Story

How two runners fell in love on Valentine’s Day

Kirsten met the love of her life on Valentine's Day at the Austin Half Marathon.

Kirsten met the love of her life on Valentine’s Day at the 2014 Austin Half Marathon.

People expect many outcomes from running. They want to get healthier. Fit into an old pair of jeans. Make new friends. But seldom do two people fall in love because of running. Well, that’s exactly what happened on Valentine’s Day before the 2014 Austin Half Marathon! Read how Kirsten met the love of her life before running 13.1 miles in the next installment of My Running Story.

Running gave them more than they ever imagined

In 2014, I ran the Austin Half Marathon for the first time. That year it took place on Valentine’s Day. While stretching on the side of the road, I noticed a very cute, sleepy guy snoozing on the sidewalk next to me. I laughed and asked him if he was ready to run 13.1 miles. He looked up at me with big, sleepy eyes and smiled. My heart skipped a beat. 

He quickly woke up and we had a lovely chat. Before I knew it the race had started and he disappeared into the crowds. The entire race I hoped I’d run into him again at the post-race celebrations. When I crossed the finish line I took out my phone to find my friend. I had a friend request from the sleepy guy! He memorized my bib number, looked up my full name at the race time station, and found me on Facebook. I asked him out and we’ve been together ever since.

We are now married and just welcomed a daughter into our family. We’d love to run the Austin Half Marathon together again in 2020. We would commemorate that Valentine’s Day morning six years ago when we met and fell in love. The Austin Marathon helped me find everything I hold most dear in life. This is my love story.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Submissions will be accepted through August 16, 2020. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson.