crossed the finish line first in the Iram Leon2013 Gusher Marathon on Saturday in south Beaumont, Texas. But because he was pushing his 6-year-old daughter Kiana in a stroller the entire time, he insists she's the actual winner.
"But here sore, reflecting and grateful, I still can’t believe that I won a marathon. Well, I came in second behind Kiana. At the awards ceremony, I immediately placed it on her neck and like every other race she’s been part of it that medal hangs in her room," Leon wrote on his blog.
Leon, 32, won the marathon in 3:07:36, six minutes ahead of the second finisher, Jerod Honrath.
Even more remarkable than winning a marathon with a stroller in tow is winning one with terminal brain cancer. But that's just what Leon did.
"This is supposed to eat away at my memory in the end," Iram Leon told the Beaumont Enterprise of the cancer in his left temporal lobe. "But I hope this memory is one of the last things to go and one she never loses."
The part of his brain where the tumour has been found affects memory, language skill and spatial organization. When he runs, he needs a running group — or in the case of Saturday's race, the bike that leads the group — to guide him through turns.
He says doctors are hoping to help him live to 40. Marathon officials made an exception to the race rules, which usually forbid strollers, to allow Leon to run with his only child.
The runner insists that running with a child isn't a disadvantage, it's what inspires him.
"It can't be a disadvantage when it's what gets you going," said Leon, who lives in Austin. "Every doctor's appointment (I ask), 'Can I keep running and am I still fit to raise a kid?'"
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Redditor siphontheenigma wrote:
"This guy is a good friend of mine from my running group. I have never met someone with a more positive outlook on life…[His] life revolves around making sure his daughter Kiana has a good childhood and good memories of him. He regularly runs races pushing the stroller. Sadly, even though his prognosis is good at the moment, he statistically won't live to see 40. However, I believe he can and will beat it."
Leon chronicles how he "copes and hopes" with cancer on his blog, Picking Up a Hitchhiker.
Leon hopes his struggle inspires other to live better lives.
"People shouldn't wait to live until they're told they're dying," Leon said. "Go home and hug somebody and don't wait to be told you have a disease that's going to kill you. I ran my entire life and I was dumb enough to wait until I was told I was dying before I ran with my daughter."