If Mo Farah's "Mobot" celebration worked for Usain Bolt, why not Susan Lacke? As the triathlete reasons with resolution season, she's open to any idea she can wrap her arms around. Out There »AP Photo/Mark Allan
If it weren’t for his aching feet, Lotatoa "Lota" Ward thinks he would've finished the recent Antelope Island Buffalo Run, a 50-mile trail race near Salt Lake City, Utah.
He made it 33 miles, an impressive distance for any runner to complete. But Lota isn’t just any runner, he's an 8-year-old with a brain tumor.
"I like running because it helps me a lot with hard times," Lota told Runner's World Newswire. "It doesn't make me feel scared going into brain surgery."
Inspired by his ultrarunner dad, Keith, Lota started hitting the trails behind his family home in Layton, Utah, last year. He ran three half-marathons, including the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship 21K in September, where he raised about $1,700 for two of his friends who suffer from spinal muscular atrophy.
"As his mom, I had a lot of reservations about his running," Rowena Ward said. "I honestly did not want him running the long races. But Lota didn’t take 'no' from me. He brought up the topic every day. Then his dad talked me into letting him try a half-marathon. My hope was that afterward, he would say he would never want to run a race again because it was too hard. But that’s not what he told me at the finish line of his first race.
"At that point, we didn't know he had a brain tumor," she added.
In October, a visit to the optometrist showed the back of Lota’s eyes were swollen. A month later, doctors told the Wards the swelling was due to a benign teratoma brain tumor. Lota underwent two surgeries to remove the tumor.
During a routine follow-up in February, an MRI revealed a new tumor that was four times larger than the original one. The golf-ball-sized mass contained early signs of cancer. Lota went in for his third surgery the next day so doctors could collect samples.
"That surgery was on a Wednesday, and he did a 10-mile training run on Sunday," Keith said. "I think running has helped the mental part of his recovery. Every time he has surgery, he is so motivated to get out of bed. He's up and walking within six hours."
Keith said his son's doctors fully support his running. In fact, his neurosurgeon is a trail runner himself.
"We asked [the doctor] if Lota's running would affect the growth of the tumor or cause it to do mutations, and he said it doesn't affect it at all," Keith said. "He said, 'As long as it keeps him happy and healthy, I don't see anything wrong with it.'"
Rowena said Lota will undergo a fourth surgery soon before doctors decide whether chemotherapy is necessary.
"I think running really helps him deal with a lot of what he's going through," Rowena said.
The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organizers of the Vuelta a España, announced invited teams for the 2015 race on Friday in Madrid.
Along with the 17 WorldTour teams that are granted automatic invitations, five wild card selections were also named for the race that will take place from August 22 to Sept. 13.
The Vuelta will start in Puerto Banús (Costa del Sol. Málaga) and conclude in Madrid. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is the reigning champion, but it is unlikely that he will defend his title in 2015, because he plans to target the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France instead.
LONDON -- Ethiopian distance-running great Kenenisa Bekele has pulled out of next month's London Marathon because of an Achilles tendon injury.
Bekele, a multiple Olympic and world champion on the track, had been scheduled to make his debut in the London race on April 26, but picked up the injury to his right Achilles while competing in the Dubai Marathon in January.
He says he "desperately wanted to run in London this year, but the injury to my Achilles has not healed sufficiently for me to compete against such a great field."
Organizers announced two new entrants to the field Monday: Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai and Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia.
Mutai is a two-time New York Marathon champion and winner of the 2012 Berlin Marathon.
The lineup already features current marathon record-holder Dennis Kimetto and former record-holder and defending champion Wilson Kipsang.
Copyright 2015 by the Associated Press