ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — 68-year old Roanoke native Mike Morris is about to beat the odds to hit a personal milestone when it comes to participating in triathlons. Saturday at 9am, the 24th Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon will be held at Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Event originator Mike Morris will be participating Saturday. It will be his 300th triathlon. The road to get to this milestone wasn’t easy. Last year, Mike was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cancer. This disease didn’t stop him from swimming, biking, and running his way to the goal.
“I did a triathlon 10 days before it was diagnosed. I was having problem’s with my speech. It wouldn’t let me form words. So I ran 4 and half miles before I went to the hospital. The person I was running with called my son and he called my wife and said you are going to the emergency room. So I went to the emergency room. I did and MRI and a catscan. Doctor Marco came in that morning and the morning I spent the night and I came at 8:00 and we are taking this tumor out. But he didn’t think it was cancerous. But when the path report came back on August 5th, it has Renal cells attached to it,” said Morris.
From that moment mike didn’t stop living. He made his push to do more triathlons. Overall, Morris’s drive to participate in triathlons has taken him to all 50 states and several countries. His first triathlon came back in 1985 in Richmond. To train for the triathlons, he gets up at 4 in the morning to swim and later in the day he bikes and or runs. Morris shares the keys of being a triathlete.
“If you can run a 5K, if you can bike 12 miles, if you can swim 750 meters, it is a little more than half a mile. So that is all you have to do. Those are pretty good distances for a beginner,” said Morris. When you look at Morris, you wouldn’t think he would be battling Stage 4 renal cancer. He is not letting cancer stop him from living his daily life and taking things one day at a time.
“No one gave me a handbook for Stage 4 Renal Cancer. I kept swimming and biking and running and doing the things that I have been doing. Other than the drugs make me run really slow and tired, I just keep going on. If one person out there gets the diagnosis that I have and doesn’t roll up and be a ball and die or has the strength to fight it and to go at it like I have then making my story public is well worth it,” said Morris.
Currently Mike’s cancer is only in his kidney. It was at one point in his shoulder and head. He will go get his next cancer scan in May. Mike’s son will join him Saturday in the triathlon to run. He wants to live to see his grandchildren be born later this year and participate in more triathlons.