Leukemia patient hopes to complete 26.2-mile races in all 50 states

MOBILE, Alabama — Trim and fit, Phillip Fields ran marathons for more than 25 years. When he received a leukemia diagnosis, he was told that he might soon feel too weak to take out the trash.

Powerful drugs needed to drive the blood and bone disease into remission, doctors explained, would sap his stamina.

“I took that as a challenge,” Fields said. “I started training and running anyway.”

Since then, the 63-year-old Fields — who teaches human anatomy at the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine — has completed 31 marathons in 27 months, even while undergoing chemotherapy sessions.

Fields noticed that something didn’t feel right while preparing for the First Light marathon in Mobile in early 2007. “I went out to run, and I couldn’t even complete three miles,” he said. 



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