McAllen resident fights cancer through staying active, building strength


Larry Prater sees walking and jogging as a way to keep his health on track. In the 1980s, Prater would run about 100 miles a week to get in shape and lose weight.

Nowadays, the McAllen resident says he takes on the trails to promote strength within his body to help him fight cancer.

“I was diagnosed with Stage III adenocarcinoma lung cancer in my right lung a year ago last December,” Prater, 68, said. “My walking and running before my cancer diagnosis gave me the physical strength to get through treatment. Now, it is giving me back a measure of energy and strength in my recovery.”

QUESTION: How did you start running?

ANSWER: I started in my mid-30s because I was overweight, smoking too much and scared (for my health).

Q: Where’s your favorite place to run in the RGV and why?

A: Mission Hike and Bike Trails on South Conway in Mission. I’ve run many races there and the single-track trails in the brush are fun.

Q: What’s the largest or most special running event you participated in?

A: Biggest was the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon. All events are special, though; each is unique and enjoyable.

Q: How do you motivate yourself to train?

A: I remind myself that I’m always happiest when I’m out running or hiking and that my time on earth is limited. So, I convince myself to make myself happy and make use of the here-and-now.

Q: Have you received any medals?

A: I have a ton of medals, both for participating and for placing in my age group.

Q: What advice would you have for new runners?

A: Start running. Run every day, if you can. Never stop running unless you cannot do it.

Q: Will you be participating in the McAllen Marathon in January? Why or why not?

A: Yes! I’ve participated in every one at the half-marathon distance.

Q: What benefits to you see from running, both physically and emotionally?

A: Running and walking are everything to me now. I had the lower lobe of my lung removed in January, went through chemotherapy in March and April, had radiation therapy from June to August. I missed a lot of workouts and races but I’m back on track and hoping to walk the Brownsville Half Marathon in October. Walking is what keeps me sane. I am a better man for a daily 5K jaunt.