Racing against cancer: Yearly run raises $8,623 and counting

Challenging himself yearly to race miles around the La Jolla High School track, LJHS teacher and water polo and swimming coach Tom Atwell completed 300 miles in 24 hours May 31.

It’s the 16th annual tradition for Atwell, who normally runs 100 miles, or 400 laps around the track, including all night, to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. 

This year, due to a recent foot surgery, Atwell changed up the format a bit, biking around the track 273.8 miles first and then jogging or walking the final “marathon,” or 26.2 miles, totalling 300 miles. 

Atwell began about 1 p.m. May 30 and finished the final lap with a crowd of students running and cheering with him per usual at 1 p.m. May 31, raising $8,623 as of this posting of his $7,500 goal.

The school also collected cash donations in classrooms that have yet to be counted.

Last year, Atwell raised nearly $14,000, always donating the funds to Susan G. Komen.

A three-time cancer survivor himself whose wife has also survived cancer, racing for a cure is something Atwell does yearly – even when recovering from foot surgery – because of all those close to him who have suffered from cancer.

“I have three kids out of my five classes [whose] parents are currently suffering from cancer,” he said. “It’s unfortunately a constant reminder.”

Also top of mind is that “people raised money at some point to do research to save my life, to save my wife’s life,” Atwell said.

The impact his fundraising events have on those he knows with cancer is “uplifting,” he said.

There is still time to donate to Atwell’s fund by clicking here.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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