Cancer and rain are no match for Michael Herman.
Herman, a fourth-year in electrical and computer engineering, took to wet conditions Sunday with hundreds of others to participate in the second-annual CLunger Beats 5000 5K outside of Ohio Stadium.
The CLunger Beats 5000 5K was founded in 2013 in honor of Cory Lunger, an Ohio State alumnus who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2008, according to the race’s website. Lunger was an ALL patient at the OSU Wexner Medical Center James Cancer Hospital and worked with the James staff to set up an endowment fund to receive the proceeds from the event shortly before he died last year, race coordinator Robin Koehler said.
ALL is a type of cancer where the bone marrow makes too many of a certain type of a white blood cell, according to the National Cancer Institute website.
Despite having ALL, Herman still ran in Sunday’s 5K, which was dedicated to him this year.
“Being the honorary runner meant a lot to me, and I think it’s an amazing thing that the creators who were friends of Cory Lunger have made the 5K what it is today: incredible,” Herman said.
Before being diagnosed with ALL in early 2013, Herman would try to run three to four times per week with a goal of around three miles each time, he said in a biography section of the race’s website.
“Yet, over a period of a month, I steadily declined in the distance I was able to run until I could not even handle a quarter of a mile,” Herman said on the website. “I knew I had to see a doctor or something after I began to get slightly feverish at evening hours, as well as developing frequent, drenching night sweats—my first thoughts were that I had mono. I went to the WilceCare Student Health center on OSUs campus, where they drew blood. Upon seeing the results, they referred me to the James Cancer Hospital.”
Herman was joined by approximately 500 participants and 60 volunteers Sunday with umbrellas in hand, Koehler said.
One participant said he was glad to be able to participate in the event, despite the rainy weather.
“(The rain) was very refreshing, and I think everyone should find an opportunity with a cause like this to run at least one 5K,” participant Alejandro Morales said.
The CLunger Beats 5000 5K raised more than $17,000 in its first race last year and coordinators said Sunday they hope to tally a similar amount after Sunday’s race. The total amount raised will be available on the race’s website later in the week, Koehler said.
All funds raised go directly toward ALL cancer research at the James because it was Lunger’s passion to raise money and awareness for ALL cancer research, Koehler said.
After the race, a “Kids Fun Run” was held. Youth ages 12 and under raced approximately 400 meters.
The top three male and female runners in the traditional 5K, and top male and female runner in the Kids Fun Run, were given awards after the event.