After a tour of Iraq in 2007 and years combating testicular cancer a triathlon must seem like a walk in the park for Marine Staff Sgt. Clayton Treska. The Iraq war vet, aged 30, is hungry for success in his first full triathlon, the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship, which takes place on Saturday 9th October in Hawaii.
The gruelling event sees participants swim 3.8 km before hopping onto a bike for a 180km ride and then on foot for a marathon 42.4km run. According to the Ironman website each athlete will train for 7 months for up to 22 hours per week in preparation.
Treska’s story is one of courage. Having been diagnosed with testicular cancer on his return from Iraq the marine underwent chemotherapy at a military hospital after which the cancer went into remission.
He decided to train for ironman events after that cramming a few hours of swimming, running and weightlifting in each morning before sunrise, while his afternoons are filled with study for his upcoming midterms followed by more training.
Last year while cycling he felt discomfort in his back and doctors informed him that his cancer had returned and was considered to be terminal.
Stage 4 testicular cancer means that other organs (such as the lungs) have been infected by the cancerous cells. It is still curable, even at that stage and Treska’s positive attitude towards life will certainly help him.
Dr. Peter Curtin who is a haematologist at UC San Diego Medical Center took Treska into his care where he was given 2 stem cell transplants and chemotherapy followed by a month in hospital where he joked that walking with an IV tube in his arm was still training.
His weight fell rapidly and according to an interview with LA Times Dr. Curtin said, “He has a disorder that with traditional chemotherapy is not curable.“
Of Clayton Bob Abbot, a serial Ironman athlete, said, “He’s incredible, news that other people would see as catastrophic he sees merely as a roadblock.”
Bob is also the co-founder of ‘Competitor’ magazine and a member of Team Treska, a growing group of supporters.
Despite his cancer still being active Clayton wishes to complete the Ironman triathlon following his success in June at a half-Ironman competition, and then go on to get his college degree.
Read here about cyclist Lance Armstrong who defeated testicular cancer and who, in a bid to help others, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation.