For Ron Moore, becoming an ultra-marathoner happened over the years as he evolved from short-distance venues to longer —and much longer—races.
Moore, senior physicist in ProNova Solutions’ research and development division, ran his first marathon in 2005. He didn’t finish, thanks to an injured calf, but was back at it the following year, completing the Chicago Marathon in 2006. He transitioned to trail running, completing his first 50K in 2010 and upping the ante from there. He finished a 70-mile race earlier this year.
“I ran track and cross country through high school and college, and as I started losing speed, I just ran farther,” he says.
Moore is training now for his first 100-mile race, the Pinhoti 100 set in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest. But this time he’s not just running for his own accomplishment. He will be raising money for the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, a Provision partner non-profit founded by the noted Olympic ice skater and cancer survivor. The foundation funds world class research and quality care with the goal of improving cancer survivorship.
The reason is personal: A few years ago Moore’s wife, Patty, was diagnosed with renal clear cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.
Doctors discovered the tumor during a routine MRI, part of a regular screening because of her high risk for breast cancer, which runs in her family, Moore says. The cancer is found most often in men ages 50-70. She was in her 30s.
“The doctor said, ‘This is an old, white guy’s cancer,’” he says. “It was pretty hard because it was so shocking.”
Fortunately, the cancer hadn’t spread, and after surgery and a prolonged recovery, Patty has returned to good health. The family was then living in Chicago, and only later did Moore find out about the opportunity at ProNova—transitioning his career last year to development of machines to treat cancer patients. Formerly the head of Tevatron, once the nation’s premier high energy particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Moore has gone from doing basic research to seeing its results.
“It’s really neat to have these medical applications of the science,” he says. “It’s humbling to be part of helping cancer patients. And it’s personally interesting.”
As he set the goal of his first 100-mile race, Moore saw an opportunity to connect two important interests of his life.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something special,’” he says. “Working here and with ProNova, Provision and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, it seemed like a very appropriate thing to do.”
Moore has set up a fundraising page, https://give.everydayhero.com/us/100-miles-on-the-trail-to-fight-cancer. His original goal was $2,000, but with donations nearing $1,400 already, he said he hopes to raise $3,000-$4,000 by race time. Through the site, he will blog about the experience as well.
Mornings and weekends find Moore on training runs, taking in 40 miles—he’ll work his way up to a total of 60 miles on Saturday and Sunday runs before the race in November—on nearby trails like Haw Ridge in Oak Ridge or Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg. His first goal is to finish the Pinhoti 100; his second is to complete it within 24 hours.
So what does he think about through the long, difficult hours of an ultra-marathon?
“Keep moving forward,” he says. “Just keep moving forward.”