Need a Little Inspiration or Motivation To Run This Weekend?

If you are running any of the races this weekend – especially the marathon – and are looking for a little inspiration and motivation before your race then meet Tom “Pacer Tom” Perri.   Pacer Tom will be one of the pacers for the 5 hour pace group with the On Pace team for the marathon. 

Pacer Tom has been running since 1976 and it wasn’t until he was running his 458th marathon  – yes that marathon number is correct – in 2018 when he noticed something wasn’t just right.  It was soon to be found out the culprit was a diagnosis of Stage 3 cancer.  Then the Stage 3 diagnosis quickly became a Stage 4 diagnosis on 7/30/2019.  

A Stage 4 diagnosis is not something to be taken lightly. It will change a person’s dreams and life choices. Pacer Tom decided instead of retiring from running that he would continue his running journey in a slightly different way. 

When he was diagnosed with cancer he was on a goal of completing his second round of a sub 4 hour marathon in all states.  Now after completing his 6th round of procedures/treatments on 12/23/21 he is still pacing and running races, but just not running those sub 4 hour marathons. Note that Pacer Tom

has 99 career sub 4 hour marathons and his goal is to some how to get healthy enough  and have a good running day to get his 100th  Sub 4 hour marathon.

All runners will face different challenges this weekend with each unique to everyone. Some might take you by surprise and others are to be expected. Fatigue might well play a factor while running the marathon. Maybe an unexpected portajohn stop along the way in any of the race distances. None of those are uncommon and are to be expected if you run enough races. 

Since his procedures and treatments Pacer Tom deals with a high level of bladder, bowel, and fatigue issues while running. 

Things that never were an issue before with running have now become a common issue while running. There is no pre-race meal before a race as food can’t be taken 12 hours before he runs. His stomach simply can’t handle it. Just one of the many differences from running before and after a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

While dealing with all the procedures and treatments since his cancer diagnosis he has completed 118 races. 89 marathons and even 3 Ultras equal 92 races completed of 26.22 or more since the Stage 4 diagnosis. 

He has run a marathon in 40 states since his Stage 4 diagnosis and has paced a marathon in 23 states since his Stage 4 diagnosis. He is also just two states away from his 6th time 50 state certified finish. 

While he can no longer run as fast as he used to be able to he is still getting to the starting line.

Then taking one step at a time to get to the finish line just like all the runners out there this race weekend. 

If you are currently dealing dealing with any stage of cancer or are a cancer survivor please say “hi” to Pacer Tom. Or if your looking for a sub 5 hour marathon then let the 5 hour pacers help you along the way. 

Remember cancer or whatever your obstacle is that it might tell you what you can’t do, but it doesn’t tell you what you can still do.  And remember you need to get to the starting line to get to the finish line.

Pacer Tom won’t let Stage 4 cancer define him. 

Congratulations to all of you runners challenging yourself by running a race this weekend.  They say that less than 1% of the population will ever ever run a marathon, so whether this is your first marathon or not, you are part of an amazing statistic.


Tom “Pacer Tom” Perri

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