Below lies a post I made on a different blog 11 years ago.
This morning, I ran my course from the Riverplex front entrance, through the Gateway Building and around the fountain, down the path, around the gooseloop, through Springdale, up the mausoleum hill, then up the hill to Prospect, through Glenn Oak park, down the hill past the Ingersoll statue and back. That reminded me of some of the runs I used to take with Steve Foster (and his good buddy Jack Stone) and how Steve would always be ahead of me when we got to the hill and he’d take the opportunity to walk up it. I never gave him grief about it because..well, he WAS ahead of me. 🙂
Today, on a crisp (high 30’s-low 40’s) sunny day, this course took me 1:44 to do. When I was running it with Steve (and often Jack), it would have taken us 1:10-1:15 to do the same course. It turned out to be 8.6 miles. Weight: 184 before running (Riverplex scale, no clothes)
Back in December 2006, I had blogged about finding out that a running friend had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Today I had some sore legs and so decided to take a yoga class prior to trying to run. The class went ok, though I irritated the “behind the knee” area of my left leg when I did backbend; I’ve had some trouble with this recently. So, I had to stop running 22 minutes into my run and walk it in.
I was a bit irritated and feeling sorry for myself; I did the old “my stupid body is made of tissue paper and spit” routine.
Then, just as I got back to the Riverplex, Jack Stone (a fellow runner who is built like an NFL linebacker) called out to me; he wanted to talk.
Steve Foster, one of my running buddies and an active Illinois Valley Strider member, has pancreatic cancer.
Steve’s cancer was inoperable; he was given until June 2007 to live.
But Steve never gave up. After the unsuccessful operation (which did add to the quality of his life), he continued to go to the Riverplex and walk. He also swam and lifted weights; as of the fall of 2007 he was still doing that.
But eventually the cancer became too much; he became bedridden earlier this year (2008) and died a couple of nights ago.
EAST PEORIA – Steve Foster, 54, of East Peoria, Ill., died at 9:50 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2008, at his residence.
He was born Jan. 19, 1954, in Peoria, Ill., the son of Henry J. and Merry C. (Justice) Foster. He married Cathy L. Donath in Chillicothe, Ill., on Sept. 23, 1972. She survives.
Also surviving are his mother, Merry Foster of Chillicothe; one daughter, Carrie A. Foster of East Peoria; four brothers, Mike (Carol) Foster of Peoria, Jim (Vicki) Foster of Morton, Tom (Char) Foster of Chillicothe and Tim (Beth) Foster of Fondulac, Wis.; and one sister, Teresa (Larry) Painter of Chillicothe. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father and one niece.
Steve graduated from the Caterpillar Inc. apprenticeship program in 1977. He was an engineer and worked for Caterpillar in the TBU department in East Peoria. He worked for Caterpillar for 33 years, having last worked in November of 2006.
He received an associate degree from Illinois Central College in December of 1994.
He was a member of the Illinois Valley Striders Club and served on its board of directors. He was also a member of the Peoria Tri-Athletes and was a mentor for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters for 10 years.
He was a singer, songwriter, musician and artist. But most importantly, he was a devoted husband, father and good friend.
Graveside services will be at 12:30 p.m. in St. Joseph Cemetery in rural Chillicothe. Visitation will be from 10 to noon Monday, April 7, at the Weber-Hurd Funeral Home in Chillicothe, Ill.
Memorials may be made to OSF Hospice or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.weberhurdfuneralhome.com
To see what some of his running buddies had to say, go here.
I’ll say a few words:
My last contact with Steve was when I sent him a letter with a photo of myself doing the 2008 version of the Austin 30K.
My first contact with him was as follows:
Back in 1997, I ran the Eureka “4 mile” race (not the Eureka spring classic; this one was during the summer, I think). It was called the “do two”, and the shirts were tye-dyed singlets with Ronald Reagan’s picture on them.
At the time, my best 4 mile run time was around 28 minutes or so and I hope to beat that.
I followed this tall, skinny, long-haired guy the whole way; try as I might I could not close the gap.
We finished and the clock said 25:XX.
I walked up to him and asked “was your time a bit faster than normal?” He blurted out “that ain’t no 4 miles!” and I burst out laughing.
One other memory: Steve and I took off from the gateway building in hopes of getting 10 miles or so; it was colder than all get out. To make a long story short we made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on Prospect; we were out for something like 2:30 or so and when we finished we hadn’t a clue of how many miles we had run.
Steve and I were on different sides on political terms; yet our discussions were always respectful.
I’ll say one more thing: Steve was one of those who, when you saw them, you started to smile. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you realized how much this guy did for others and you started to ask yourself: “what are you doing to make this community a better place?”
The world (and our community) is a better place because Steve lived here.
Of course, I am sad that he is gone but that is part of the price of having friends.
Maybe I’ll think about him the next time I think of myself as being too busy to lend a helping hand.