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Local woman, 70, typifies Spirit of Survival runner

Pat Downing has many reasons to keep running in the Spirit of Survival.

Downing, who is 70, has participated in the event for several years. She previously worked as a registered nurse at Comanche County Memorial Hospital and retired in December 2015.

The Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma in Lawton, Duncan and Altus are the beneficiaries of all proceeds of the Spirit of Survival, and all three centers have patients on clinical trials. This is the 11th year for the event that includes includes a half marathon, quarter marathon, 5K, kids marathon and Leah M. Fitch Spirit Walk, as well as many other activities.

Downing said she started participating when SOS was still in the Wichita Mountains. That's when she ran her first 5K. She said there are many reasons she chose to join in.

"One is for health, my own personal health," Downing said. "I worked my whole life and I never was really active, because I would get up at the break of dawn and work and then take care of my kids. It wasn't until when the Spirit of Survival came and they were doing the 5K I said 'I should be able to run 3 miles.' That's not very far, and I couldn't. I couldn't even do a mile."

She started with an app called the Couch Potato to 5K. On Saturdays and a couple of days per week, she worked with that. Eventually, she began building strength.

The Lawton Constitution

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