MedWatch- Preparing for Spirit of Survival from Rhiannon Leigha Poolaw on Vimeo.

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – On average, more than four thousand people participate in the Spirit of Survival every year walking or running in different events. Most people participating in various events do so in support or memory of family and friends who have had cancer or are battling it right now. This week I had the chance to sit down with one woman who is going to attempt her longest race yet at the Spirit of Survival.

Pat Downing is running in Spirit of Survival this year for at least her seventh time. She says she keeps going back to support those with cancer.

“My reason to run is for my family members who have went through this, who are going through it now, for my friends, my coworkers who I used to work with who are battling cancer now. I’m healthy so I want to do whatever I can to help them with their battle through it,” Downing said.

She started with a 5k and has been getting better and better, progressing every year from walking to jogging. When she couldn’t finish her first one, she kept trying and trying until she finally succeeded.

“It was just an unbelievable feeling to know that you worked so hard for so many years and were able to accomplish a goal. So that’s what I’m looking forward to this year when I cross the finish line for the half-marathon,” Downing said.

Besides her confidence building with every step she takes, her life outside of running is changing.

“I don’t see my doctor as much. I go in once a year for a checkup. I’m health. I’ve lost weight. I’m eating right. I’m exercising. It just works for me,” Downing explained.

Besides helping people in the community, Downing says she like running in the Spirit of Survival for all the people from different walks of life she gets to meet.

“You get to meet your co-runners. You get to know people who have had cancer who are participating in the race and you see how they keep working at it. It’s exciting and it’s wonderful. It’s just great to be out there with them,” Downing said.

If you would like to participate in this year’s race, it’s not too late to sign up. You can go to to sign up. Training sessions are also provided to help you get ready for the race in October. The training sessions are every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. for those who are participating in the marathon and at 7:00 p.m. for those participating in the quarter marathon and the 5k.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.