Lopez has more than marathons on his mind | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lopez has more than marathons on his mind

Jeremy Evans

Robert Lopez might be attempting 65 marathons this year but sore feet and blisters are the least of his concerns. Lopez is running in 2007 for his ex-wife who is recovering from breast cancer.

“I did the running anyway … about 20 or 30 marathons a year until I stopped to take care of my ex-wife,” Lopez said. “Now that she has gotten better, I wanted to show my support by going back to running again. But, this time, I wanted to spread the word about breast cancer and raise awareness.”

Lopez, a former cancer survivor himself, is doing just that.

The Seattle resident will run marathon Nos. 43-45 this week. He completed the first leg of the Tahoe Triple on Thursday (three marathon in three days) and his 45th marathon of the year will be the 12th annual Lake Tahoe Marathon on Saturday.

He ran his first marathon of 2007 the first week of January in Orlando, Fla. His 65th is scheduled for Dec. 31 in Bellingham, Wash.

While it seems an unseemly amount of running – roughly 1,700 miles or 1.3 marathons per week – Lopez knows a friend in Seattle who ran 79 one year.

“And that’s just official marathons,” said the 41-year-old Lopez, who works as a consultant. “There are others who have run 26.2 miles every day for some period of time, but they weren’t involved in an official marathon with bibs and scorekeepers. I am not doing anything that special.”

Breast cancer survivors and patients, such as his ex-wife, might argue differently.

A woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes, according to the American Cancer Society. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 15-54, and the second-leading cause of death for those between 55-74.

However, Lopez is quick to point out that breast cancer is not a gender-specific medical condition. Approximately 1,400 breast cancer cases were diagnosed to men in 2000.

He realizes his 65 marathons – and his sore feet and blisters – can’t help everyone, but he wants to help those who are willing to listen. After all, 96 percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free within five years.

“It’s a fairly common thing among women and more men are getting breast cancer,” Lopez said. “I tell people all the time that if you don’t know somebody with breast cancer now, you probably will within five years. But it’s usually treatable if it’s detected early. That’s why I wear pink when I run these marathons, the color of breast cancer awareness, to spread the word.”

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