In 2005, at the age of 52, Clinton Cunningham was diagnosed with a life-threatening choroidal cancer of his right eye — a tumor the size of a grape which required surgery to remove the eye. At the same, Clint and his wife were taking care of his mom, just having had a massive stroke, requiring 24-hour care until her passing two years later.
“My life seemed pretty stressful and at times I felt overwhelmed trying to adjust to life with limited vision and other worries,” Clint said. “I had gained weight, (largely a result of having quit smoking, and stress) and felt poorly mentally and physically.” That was until one of his best friends of over 40 years, Ruth Cantor, called him. She suggested that he sign up for the CRIM 10 mile race by joining a training program for beginner runners. “I laughed out loud,” Clint shared. He had a vague idea of what the CRIM was about, but Ruth knew her friend Clint well. “I was intrigued by the audacity of accomplishing something so beyond anything I had done before.”
Clint had never been a runner. “She (Ruth) told me more about the program and the next day, I put on some old sneakers and got outside for a neighborhood run. I made it to the first mailbox out of breath.” He called Ruth to tell her that, and that he was not interested in this anymore. She told him “well, tomorrow run to the next mailbox!”. Well, of course, he did. Later after more encouragement from Ruth, Clint signed up for a beginning adult training program to run the 10 Mile Crim. “It was hard work, but I drove all the way from Pinckney, Michigan to Flint every Tuesday night, accomplished all my homework – and in August, finished the 10 mile run in 1:54,” Clint shared. He was accompanied across the finish line by one of his team leaders who was determined to get him across the finish line. “I was weeping with joy. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Clint said. That was in 2007, and he’s only missed two in those years, once for another cancer surgery, and another time for a family wedding. He will never miss one again.
“I venerate the CRIM so much, that I joined the CRIM Chairman’s Circle. I have since run 3 marathons as well and am enjoying all the amazing benefits of being part of this amazing event in our Community. Thanks for making it possible to share part of my story here. Good luck to all of your endeavors – in the years of being part of CRIM, I have come to realize that my story is not unique. Best of luck to all of you during this challenging year. ”
You Can Make An Impact!
While the race this year will look a little different, you can still make an impact in your community. By registering to participate in the 1st ever HAP Virtual Crim, you are supporting the important programs that the Crim Fitness Foundation offers all year round throughout Genesee County. Get signed up today and invite friends and family to join you. You can even create a race team for free to enhance the experience.