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Lukas Verzbicas Competing In Triathlon For Sick Friend

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jul. 4, 2011
  • Updated Jul. 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM UTC
Lukas Verzbicas will be competing in the world junior triathlon championships in honor of his sick friend. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Lukas Verzbicas will be competing in the world junior triathlon championships in honor of his sick friend. Photo: PhotoRun.net

He is putting his running dreams on hold for now.

One of the best American high school runners, Lukas Verzbicas, sat in silence when he recently found out about his friend and longtime triathlon teammate, Kevin McDowell.

The news was grim: McDowell has been diagnosed with cancer.

The silence was broken by Verzbicas’ stepfather who told his stepson that he had a choice to make: He could either focus on his running career or he could go for the junior world title in the triathlon, something McDowell had been favored to win.

This was no easy decision for Verzbicas. As a runner, he has been tearing up the track. He recently ran a sub-4:00 mile–a feat only achieved four other U.S. high school runners.

But the decision was a no-brainer.

“I made the decision right away,” Verzbicas recalled. “I feel like Kevin would have definitely won that medal, and it’s really not fair what happened. If I could bring it to him, I have to do it.”

McDowell was the bronze medallist at last year’s world junior championships.

For More: MSNBC

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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