Tom Kaisersatt successfully finished the 26.2 miles of the October 26, 2008, Silicon Valley Marathon. This adds another race completion to his history of over 150 marathons and ultra-marathons, but this finish was different from any other in his past. He did it four months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. The cancer has compromised this racer’s breathing, but with special permission from the director of the Silicon Valley Marathon, J.T. Service, Kaisersatt was allowed to run the race over the course of five weeks. He was allowed by Service to run the course at one- and two-mile intervals over the five weeks leading to the late October race. The day of the marathon, Kaisersatt completed the final five miles of the course, which were lined with dozens of others he has brought to marathon racing through his team San Jose Fit. Wearing yellow shirts to match Tom Kaisersatt’s, they chanted in support of their mentor, “Team Tom!” Cheers resounded from the spectators as Kaisersatt crossed the finish line, but he still is in a race for his life against the cancer raging in his lungs.
Just days following the Silicon Valley Marathon, Kaisersatt began his forth and final round of chemotherapy. After this session, he will be assessed by his team of physicians to determine his candidacy for surgery to remove his right lung and then radiation treatment following that. The surgery might seem a radical treatment, but left unchecked, mesothelioma can kill in just a few short months. Tom Kaisersatt is aware of this, and he acknowledges that this could be the last race he runs for a long time. A large group of his supporters from the San Jose Fit team he founded in 1998 stood by to support the man who had done so much to support them in their marathon training. They wish to bring hope to Tom, who has given them so much through his selfless actions as their leader and mentor with San Jose Fit.
Update: Tom Kaisersatt passed away due to complications from mesothelioma on September 9, 2010.