ATLANTA — Numbers flood the race coverage of AJC Peachtree Road Race: 50th running, $50,000, 60,000 participants, just to name a few.
But for one runner, it’s the number 13 that hits home. 2018 was set to be Laura Youngblood’s 13th Peachtree Road Race.
But she never made it to the start line.
“I got up early and got dressed and got in the car to drive to the MARTA station, and I had to turn around because I was so dizzy I couldn’t even continue driving,” Laura said.
The dizziness indicated a devastating diagnosis.
“Several weeks and tests later we found out the reason I was so dizzy because I had metastatic breast cancer in my brain,” she said.
The diagnosis, commonly referred to as Stage 4 breast cancer, indicated Laura's cancer had already spread to her skull, her collarbone and pelvis.
"I didn't ask if it was OK if kept running, I just told them I was going to continue running and they all said 'great,'" Laura said.
As an avid runner accustomed to posting under the Instagram handle @Running_With_Curls, she re-committed to #RunningWithCancer. On the days her energy failed her during treatment, Laura's running buddies walked beside her.
Laura's radiation and endocrine therapy was successful, allowing her to make her return to the start line and tackle that 13th race.
“This is my favorite race, and I was so disappointed and mad last year that I couldn’t do it,” she said.
At one hour, 11 minutes, Laura completed the race stolen from her, a comeback from cancer.
“I’m taking this race back,” she said at the finish line. “This is my race to run, and I’m taking it back.”