|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • PEAR BLOSSOM RUN

    Young runner presses on despite arthritis

  • Ethan Saunders wasn't the youngest runner to complete the Pear Blossom Run's 10-miler on Saturday, but he surely was among the toughest.
    • email print
  • Ethan Saunders wasn't the youngest runner to complete the Pear Blossom Run's 10-miler on Saturday, but he surely was among the toughest.
    The 9-year-old Central Point boy missed out on the "youngest" distinction by four months to Eagle Point's James Gros, also 9 and who also finished the race.
    Saunders ran under trying circumstances. He has had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 5 and, just last October, needed injections in his knees and feet when the arthritis flared up to the point he could barely walk.
    But there he was in the Pear Blossom, for the most part running, side by side with his mother, Katrina.
    "It went good, we finished," she said. "Ethan suffered through lots of pain in his left foot. I kept asking him if he wanted me to give him a piggyback ride, but he said, 'No, Mom, I'm gonna finish.'"
    Ethan, a third-grader at Kingdom Harvest Christian School and youth grand marshal of the annual Southern Oregon Arthritis Walk last fall, tried to downplay his discomfort.
    "It wasn't really bad," he said. "... But it was bad."
    The task initially scared him, he said, "But the first mile, I thought it was pretty short, so I thought I could do it."
    And he did, coming it at 1 hour, 59 minutes, 14 seconds.
    Ethan takes medication to keep the arthritis in remission and prevent the debilitating flare-ups like he experienced last fall. He's recently begun playing baseball, albeit with soreness.
    But he approaches that as he did the Pear Blossom Run.
    "He was determined," said Katrina. "He was inspiring me. I was feeling pain, but probably nothing like any pain he was feeling. I couldn't even feel sorry for myself."
    She might have to get used to it, for Ethan said he plans to enter the run again next year.
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
Reader Reaction
      • calendar