Lindsey Sexton runs the No Business 100. (Photo by Ryan C. Hermens, Lexington Herald-Leader)
When Lindsey Sexton of Monticello started to train for a 102-mile road race in the rugged Cumberland Plateau last year, she had no idea that the race “would come only months after a breast cancer diagnosis led to her having a double mastectomy,” Mark Story writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
When Sexton was about to turn 35, her doctor encouraged her to get a mammogram “strictly for precautionary purposes,” Story reports. Abnormalities led to a biopsy and a diagnosis of two types of breast cancer, one of which can spread aggressively.
She called her husband but couldn’t reach him. Calling her brother, “Sexton’s mouth would not form the words, ‘I have breast cancer’,” Story writes.
She recalled, “Nothing came out except this horrible noise: A cry. A scream. A sob. . . . Your world stops.” The doctor “tried to assure me that we had caught it early and that there were multiple things that could be done. I told her, ‘I’m 35. I have three kids. We’ve go to do whatever it is that is going to get me back to a normal lifestyle as soon as possible.’”
After conferring with surgeons and her husband, Sexton got a bilateral mastectomy. “My boobs aren’t what make me who I am,” she told Story. “And, if they are causing a problem, let’s just get rid of them.”
|Map adapted from website; click on it to enlarge|
Perhaps fittingly, the name of the race is the No Business 100, named for a creek in the nearby Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee, scene of the race.
Sexton had never run more than 40 miles, so it could be argued that she had no business running 102, but Story reports, “The more Sexton trained, the better she felt.”
With 13 miles left, “My emotions creeped back in,” Sexton said. “I just started crying, kind of in a reflective mode of what all I had endured with surgeries, cancer diagnoses, that sort of thing.” For the last three miles, Kevin Jones, the Wayne County High School athletics director and longtime cross-country coach, “paced his younger sister,” Story reports.
Story concludes, “Eight months later, Sexton says her health is good. She is already registered to race in the 2022 No Business 100 this coming October. On Mother’s Day, Sexton says she hopes her children — daughter Jenna, now 11; and sons Jase, 9 and Jett, 7 — have drawn lessons from their mom’s determination in the face of unexpected adversity.”