- Associated Press - Saturday, April 22, 2017

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Nathan Sexton took his running career to the nation’s biggest stage Monday.

The local man battling a stage 4 brain tumor completed the Boston Marathon in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators, but the feat brought plenty of struggle for the 30-year-old husband and father.

“I think the good news is he finished and he’s happy about that,” Sexton’s father, Buddy Sexton, said. “He probably had the most difficult time to date. He had five seizures running it.”

Nathan Sexton completed the prestigious 26.2-mile race in 3 hours, 51 minutes and 46 seconds. After starting out with his typical blistering pace, his splits began slowing while he coped with the seizures during much of the race’s second half.

“I guess it was about 30 kilometers, he went into the medic tent,” Buddy Sexton said. “The nurse kind of wanted him to stay there, and then he got back and got over the seizure and started running again. I think it was a struggle.”

Nathan Sexton was diagnosed with glioblastoma nearly two years ago, and he was told it carries a life expectancy of 15-24 months. Since then, he has wowed Chattanooga’s running community by picking up the sport and becoming one of the area’s fastest runners.

The Knoxville native and former vice president of operations for Bellhops, a local startup moving company, finished 13th in last month’s Chattanooga Marathon after a late-race seizure caused him to fall two minutes short of qualifying for the 2018 Boston Marathon.

But the Boston Athletic Association heard Sexton’s story and offered him a rare special entry into this year’s field.

Sexton ran a quick, seizure-free Knoxville half marathon earlier this month in preparation for the event and said he planned to focus less on his time for the Boston Marathon so he could focus on enjoying the race.

He received a special send off from his Bellhops co-workers before departing for Boston, and he represented Chattanooga during Monday’s race by wearing a Bellhops headband and a Fast Break Athletics tank-top.

“I was ecstatic, to say the least,” Nathan wrote in an email last month, describing his reaction to finding out he was offered a spot in the race. “Like I said earlier, running Boston is a dream for any runner.”

Chattanooga Marathon champion Christian Thompson finished 29th overall in the field of 30,074 with a time of 2:23:51. Fast Break Athletics owner Alan Outlaw, who has coached Sexton, finished in 2:42:48.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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