Guest Blog: Samantha Hagness

I run because…

I used to run because I wanted to lose weight.  I was running away from that muffin top and those thunder thighs.  With time, though, that started to change. Years later, I kept running because I actually enjoyed it.  Now, I run because I have to.

About two and a half years ago, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma.  For those who aren’t familiar, “stage IV” means it is bad, really, really bad.  In that moment, in that day, in that week, and for the two years to follow, I felt as though my entire world had been shaken.  It was almost as though I was living inside of one of those snow globes.  You know, the ones that you buy from a gas station at the end of a family vacation.  It was as though someone haphazardly decided to give my snow globe a little shake.  Suddenly and without warning, everything I thought I knew was a blur.  The ground around me had been thrown into a frenzy. I was scared. I was confused. I was hurt.  I was lost.  So, I ran.

The trail was my sanctuary

The trail was the one place where everything stayed the same.  I jumped over the same rocks and slid passed the same trees.  I had my rock where I cried.  I had my overlook where I prayed.  I had the sun and the moon that followed me around, and I found comfort in the ground beneath my feet.

The trails were that one place where everything was supposed to be blurry.  The trails were that one place where everyday noises were supposed to be drowned out.  I had found a place where my heart was supposed to race, where I was supposed to feel exhausted, and where my tears could mingle with the sweat streaming down my face.

I learned to listen to beat of my steps, to feel my breath, and to soak in the world around me.  I finally felt as though I had control, so I decided that I would keep moving.  For two and a half years, that is exactly what I did.  I got out of bed every morning to jump over my rocks, pass by my trees, and play with the sun.

2-1/2 years later…

Now, two and a half years later, I sit waiting for the results from the latest PET scan.  I am terrified that suddenly and without warning my entire world will be flipped upside down again. Luckily, my mom is a champion.  She has conquered more mountains than I have ever laid my eyes on.  Heck, I nicknamed her “Turbo” for a reason.  And until we get those results, I will find comfort in the trail.  I will keep running because I have to, because it is my place.


  1. I can certainly identify with this blog. I’ve been a runner for more than 40 years and over the course of that time, running has helped me weather a number of family crises. From a son who survived cancer as a young teen to my wife’s serious heart trouble, my runs have been there to help me cope. Then last year I had my own health crisis which resulted in open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. But again, my running helped me recover quickly and I’m out on the roads and trails again – and so very thankful every time I put on my running gear and head out the door.

  2. What a great post! I can really relate, though I am currently battling a knee injury. Best wishes for total healing for your mother.

  3. I run because I am a three time cancer survivor. I understand how Samantha feels. It is my time to get away from everything and just enjoy a good sweaty run. I ran my first 5K four years ago the day after finding out I had kidney cancer. That took a huge toll on my training but I have done a few more sense then and I’m on my third half marathon later this year. Hang in there Samantha and I hope the best for you and “Turbo”.

  4. I have stage IV metastatic melanoma and have spent 6 of the last 8 months in bed. But I got up and I walk a little further every day and have started swimming. I was so weak at times I had to crawl to the bathroom. Among other things, I have done 10 ironmans, and won my age group in 5 of them, so I can hardly wait to get out again. Being so fit was instrumental in my survival so far. Cherish every step, you never know when you won’t be able to run any more. And wear sunscreen–melanoma is the one of the deadliest, fastest growing cancers.
    All the best to you and “Turbo”.

  5. My 11-year old son was killed in an auto accident. Running was my sanity. I still say (13 years after his death), “I run to remember, I run to forget”.


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