INSPIRATION: Cancer survivor Dan Burger will compete in this year’s Airlie Beach Running Festival and has been training hard in preparation. Photo contributed
INSPIRATION: Cancer survivor Dan Burger will compete in this year’s Airlie Beach Running Festival and has been training hard in preparation. Photo contributed

Survivor finds running his moving meditation

MANY people refer to running as their meditation but not many can say it has literally been a life-changing experience.

But for 46-year-old Cannonvale man, Dan Burger, it has been just that.

Dan was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in early 2014 and had radical surgery where his entire large intestine was removed, followed by six months of intensive chemotherapy.

He started running "with any consistency" in January this year after being invited by a family friend to go along to parkrun, a 5km social run at Abell Point Marina, held on Saturday mornings.

"I've grown to love running as it is an almost cathartic experience where I can empty my mind and focus on breathing and placing one foot in front of the other," Dan said.

"It's my meditation.

"Thankfully, I remain cancer-free today.

"Running this year has been part of my recovery in that it has helped me regain self-confidence and manage my mental health and physical fitness.

"In fact I've lost 12kg since the start of the year."

Dan, who is a diesel fitter in the mines, entered the 2013 Airlie Beach Running Festival in the 5km event and ran a time of about 36 minutes.

"This year I've decided to run the 10km, which will be challenging," he said.

"As part of my training, I have been running parkrun every second Saturday morning and at least two more 5km runs weekly.

"In the past month, I've replaced one 5km run with a 10 km run.

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend's festival and achieving a goal I've set for myself. I can't thank my parkrun family enough for their support and encouragement along the way. It's certainly been a life-changing journey."

Online registrations for this year's Airlie Beach Running Festival this Sunday, July 17, close on Saturday, July 16 at midnight.

Events include a half-marathon, including a three-person relay event, 10km and 5km runs including a team challenge, plus a 2km kids run on Saturday July 16, at 3pm.


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