Ryan Cox wrote -
My name is Ryan Cox and on August 27, 2016 I will be competing in the Lost Lake Run just outside Seward, Alaska on arguably one of the most beautiful trails in the state. The course is 16 miles of spruce forest and open alpine area with a peak elevation near 2,100 feet. As with most alpine trails in Alaska, runners typically face stretches overgrown with vegetation, rocky descents, serious mud, and the probability of some combination of moose, bear, wind, rain, sleet, fog, or snow. Nobody understands solidarity like competitive Alaskan trail runners. But the Lost Lake Run offers more than a grueling course and tough competition. From its beginning, Lost Lake has existed as a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis; runners collect pledges to support research for the genetic disorder. Though Cystic Fibrosis primarily affects the respiratory system, it also damages the pancreas, kidneys, liver, and intestines. Even in developed countries, Cystic Fibrosis reduces the lifespan of individual’s to the late 30’s. No cure has yet been discovered.
I have done the race three times. I decided to put together a team last year and it was even better than I expected. Being apart of a team causes an individual to enter a race with a different mindset. It adds an indescribable type of excitement, bondage, and stoke before toeing the line. You aren’t just running for yourself; you’re suffering for your teammates. Team COG was able to capture the title while posting the second fastest time in race history. Not only did we run well, but we also raised just under $5000.
I have Cystic Fibrosis, and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t affected me. Thankfully, I have been blessed with parents who care deeply about my health and well-being, putting it before anything else. Starting at a very young age my parents were sure to emphasize the importance of staying healthy. At the age of 26, it is still engraved in me. When I turned 13, my parents encouraged me to start running because they thought it would be good for my lungs. I’ve never looked back. After 13 years and 8 seasons of high school and collegiate competitions, I still lace up my shoes almost every day. Running is more than an effective treatment for my Cystic Fibrosis. Running is more than a habit. Running is a way of life for me, and every day that I hit the roads or the trails is truly a gift.
I feel like a lot of young people make the mistake of letting Cystic Fibrosis tie them down. Running has taught me that just because something affects you doesn’t mean it has to control you. I run because I can; I run to beat the odds. Please, donate today so that one day, instead of saying “I have Cystic Fibrosis,” a child can say, “I had Cystic Fibrosis… and now I’m cured.”