Through battle with prostate cancer, Perri happy to be back for another Med City Marathon

Tom Perri has run in every Med City Marathon. He'll be back for this weekend's event in Rochester after running in his 600th marathon last weekend in Fargo, N.D.

Tom Perri, right, runs in a Med-City Marathon as a five-hour pacer. Perri will run in his 27th Med-City Marathon on Sunday.
Contributed photo
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To run day after day, race after race, and marathon after marathon is one thing, but to do so after battling against Stage 4 prostate cancer is another thing.

And it’s nothing short of remarkable.

Tom Perri’s story from last September’s Post-Bulletin (Sept. 11) is worth revisiting.

He is now one of three runners who have run the previous 26 Med City races and he will toe the line again on Sunday for his 27th Med City Marathon.

Perri will become the only person with 25 marathons at three different marathons in just Minnesota.


Perri, now 61, ran his 600th marathon — that’s right, 600! — last Saturday in Fargo, N.D., and he will reach yet another milestone on Sunday, his 100th marathon or ultra marathon in Minnesota.

He was first diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer on July 30, 2019, and is closing in on race No. 200 since that ugly day.

Ever since, each day has been a journey, one step at a time.

“Some days are OK and other days not OK,” he said. “Some days the fatigue is so bad I can only walk or run for 15 minutes.”

Other days are not so bad.

Perri had surgery in April of 2019 to remove his prostate but three months later he was told that the cancer had spread to his bladder, and is still at Stage 4.

“Cancer doesn’t tell me what I can’t do,” Perri said last September. “It tells me what I can still do. My latest goal is continuing pacing and running while battling this cancer.”

He is the only runner in the world with a combined 100K Lifetime miles, more than 2,000 career races, and a member of the 50-state club five times over.


Perri has gone 19 years of successfully running a marathon once a month, with April and May of 2020 being virtual marathons due to the pandemic.

Perri is scheduled to run the 5K Saturday night and then the marathon on Sunday.

“I’ve always loved this marathon,” he said. “It’s been special to me ever since that first one.”



1996 — Terry Gendron, Moline, Ill., 2:36.25;  1997 — Jeffrey Miller, Albert Lea, 2:43.46; 1998 — Jerry Wille, Rochester, 2:47.50; 1999 — Terry Tupy, Rochester, 2:51.09; 2000 — Bill Field, Faribault, 2:33.07; 2001 — Jerry Wille, Rochester, 2:46.28; 2002 — Pete Gilman, Byron, 2:30.06; 2003 — Brett Evans, West St. Paul, 2:43.06; 2004 — Patrick, Russell, Duluth, 2:36.58; 2005 — Pete Gilman, Rochester, 2:25.54; 2006 — Brett Evans, St. Paul, 2:56.43; 2007 — Nick Payne, Rochester, 2:41.15; 2008 — Mark Ott, Jackson, Mich., 2:54.33; 2009 — Chuck Engle, Dublin, Ohio, 2:39.14; 2010 — Pete Gilman, Rochester, 2:35.31 (course record); 2011 — Ron Giles, Rochester, 2:44.41; 2012 — Pete Gilman, Rochester, 2:30.21; 2013 — Tim Hardy, North Mankato, 2:41.14; 2014 — Mark Evans, Appleton, Wis., 2:50.53; 2015 — Jim Onigkeit, Rochester, 2:54.9; 2016 — Connor Branick, Sioux Falls, 2:42.34; 2017 — Jackson Lindquist, Carlton, 234.25; 2018 — Race cancelled due to excessive heat; 2019 — Matt Barrett, Verona, Wis., 2:29.16; 2020 — Race cancelled due to COVID-19; 2021 — Levi Severson, Edina, 2:41.19.


1996 — Paulette Dow, St. Paul, 3:06.42; 1997 — Benita Amundson, Rochester, 3:07.44; 1998 — Kathy Mathieson, Green Bay, 3:03.28; 1999 — Kathy Waldron, Green Bay, 2:59.28; 2000 — Kathy Waldron, Green Bay, 3:02.13; 2001 — Deb Thomford, Zumbrota, 3:17.04; 2002 — Kathy Neises, Madison, S.D., 2:56.31 (course record); 2003 — Benita Glassford, Lake Mills, Iowa, 3:13.59; 2004 — Deb Thomford, Zumbrota, 3:24.49; 2005 — Ann Marie Thiessen, Tacoma, Wash., 3:04.46; 2006 — Kathy Waldron, Green Bay, 3:30.44; 2007 — Tammy Berg-Beniak, Mazeppa, 3:14.10; 2008 — Kara Arzamendia, St. Paul, 3:12.19; 2009 —Heather Himler, Rochester, 2:57.39; 2010 — Amy Vantassel, Colorado Springs, Colo., 3:32.48; 2011 — Deborah Huddleston, Minneapolis, :01.41; 2012 — Serene Griffin, Roanoke, Texas, 3:20.19; 2013 — Hilary Farmer, Des Moines, 3:08.58; 2014 — Mary Chestolowski, Rochester, 3:10.11; 2015 — Julie Crutchfield, Wilmington, Ill.,. 2:59.22; 2016 — Mary Chestolowski, Rochester, 3:03.09; 2017 — Jessica Rollie, Rochester, 3:10.02; 2018 — Race cancelled due to excessive heat; 2019 — Jia Xuan Huang, Shenandoah, Iowa, 3:25.18; 2020 — Race cancelled due to COVID-19; 2021 — Madison Hirsch, Rochester, 3:12.18.

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