By Courtney Perkes
Randy Kam, 58, is confident that he won’t finish Sunday’s O.C. Marathon – his 131st endurance race – dead last again.
The Fullerton dentist logged a time of 7 hours, 32 minutes last year, three days after undergoing chemotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer. This time, he’s done with chemo and his cancer is in remission. But he’ll still wear a homemade sign on his back urging men to get screened.
“I’m baaack!! Stage IV prostate cancer, 15 chemos/6 marathons last year,” his sign reads, in part.
The 12th annual O.C. Marathon is expected to draw more than 22,000 runners and 10,000 spectators to races this weekend, including a Kids Run today and the 26.2-mile marathon, half-marathon and 5K on Sunday. Mayors of the four host cities – Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine and Santa Ana – will run or walk the half-marathon to raise money for scholarships and running shoes for the 2017 Kids Run.
Organizers kicked things off Thursday night by inducting the first four members into the marathon’s Hall of Fame. The honor was inspired by recipients Steven and Alison Robert, who are marking the 10th anniversary of Team Jake.
In 2006, Steven Robert ran the O.C. Marathon to raise money for cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder his 4-year-old son, Jake, was born with. As he neared the finish line, Steven scooped up his son from the sidelines and carried him for the final 100 yards. That night, Jake died in his sleep.
The couple, who moved from Yorba Linda to Austin, Texas, returns for the marathon each year and along with hundreds of other runners, raise money for children with disabilities.
“Instead of the Robert family taking that tragedy and trying not to think about the O.C. Marathon ever again, they did something different,” said Gary Kutscher, marathon director. “They decided to honor Jake each year by coming back.”