Man will run his 20th SF half-marathon after doctors told him he wouldn’t live past Christmas

Local News

26.2 miles, or even half that, seem like a punishment. However, for one Sioux Falls runner, they’re a blessing.

Pat Schwebach is getting ready to run a half-marathon on Sunday. While most of us are worn out just by the thought of such a long race, there’s a reason why Schwebach loves every single mile that’s in front of him.

“I’m going for a run,” Pat said, going out the front door of his home.

Every bit of good luck helps.

“Go Pat!” Jodi Schwebach, Pat’s wife, said.

Like most runners, Pat is in a race against the clock, because he knows he only has so much time to finish. When he’s running through his neighborhood for practice, his strategy is simple. He puts one foot in front of the other. It’ll be effective when it’s time for him to run the Sioux Falls half-marathon.

“Three, four miles every other day,” Pat said.

Running the half is an amazing accomplishment for Pat, especially when you consider doctors told him he wouldn’t get very far.

“Doctors told me, ‘I hope you have everything in order, because you might not see Christmas,” Pat said to KELOLAND News in 2002.

Before that interview, Pat had a rash. In 1996, it went from bad to worse. It was cancer, stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We were there when he told us, thanks to chemo, he was in remission. Then, one day, he found out he wasn’t.

“I went back in for a checkup in August ’97, that was the most frightening moment, because the nurse just came back and hugged me and said she was so sorry. Sorry for what? That was a pretty frightening moment there,” Pat said in 2002.

“I think that was the day the doctor told us his liver looked like swiss cheese, because there was so much cancer,” Jodi said in 2002.

The Schwebach’s thought Pat’s time was up.

“It was something you don’t expect to hear at 28 years old,” Jodi said.

Pat just kept going. That was more than 20 years ago, and he’s still in remission. His near death experience pushed him to run the marathon. This isn’t his first. He already did that. And then he did another one, and then another, and another.

“Surprised every year. I thought, is this going to be my last year? Is this going to be my last year,” Pat said.

This year will be his 20th half-marathon in Sioux Falls. If you think he started running for trophies, he did. But, to him, those are not any of the multiple medals he has earned.

“The reason for the running and the racing is so I can be here with my family. And it worked out. I’m so thankful. That’s all it’s for. That’s what I enjoy the most is being with my family,” Pat said.

“Every race is a gift. Every day is a gift,” Jodi said.

You can’t just call someone a winner just because he’s finished a race in a certain amount of time. In Pat’s case, you have to measure how far he’s come from where he started.

“Running long endurance races, you just have to set your mind to accomplishing something and not think about every little pain or ache you’re feeling,” Pat said. “You just keep going and you keep going. For me, cancer was similar to that.”

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