2018 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon participant once 'hated running'

Demetrius Payton raises cancer research money by running in marathons

SAN ANTONIO – A local man who will be running in the 2018 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend has not only beaten cancer, he has also raised more than $10,000 for cancer research.

Demetrius Payton was 39 years old in 2009 when he got some devastating news -- he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I couldn't do anything at that point. That's when I realized, 'Wouldn't it be nice to be able to run or do anything at that point?," Payton said. 

The problem was Payton, who once served in the Air Force and Army, didn't like pounding the pavement

"I hated running," he said.

But that all changed while Payton was recovering from surgery, when a cancer survivor approached him about running for a cause. 

"She approached me in the elevator and said, 'We are going to be running for this cause, the American Cancer Society.'" I knew at that point it was destiny for me to do it," Payton said.

Since Payton's cancer diagnosis, he has run 14 marathons and 13 half-marathons, usually to raise money related to the military or cancer. 

During some particularly difficult times during a marathon, the father of three is reminded about his struggle and of those who died from cancer and who supported him during his own battle.

"My mom who passed away, she had breast cancer in 2016. She was one of the people that helped me get through it," he said.

Payton, who is Interim Director of Infrastructure & Operations for CPS Energy, has a message for those who are fighting cancer.

"You make life what it is after you fall," he said.

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