Kenny Capps is all in on a death-defying run

Miles Hoffman

(Editor's note: The quotes are from the slides Capps used at his Rotary Club presentation and from his website, the author says.)

Kenny Capps spoke to the Black Mountain Rotary Club at its June 6 meeting at Givens Highland Farms about his journey with cancer and the Running Bones Race. It was a compelling presentation.

In 2015, Kenny Capps was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. He hopes to out run it.

Capps was raised in Black Mountain. He and his wife, Murphy Funkhouser Capps, founded Black Mountain’s Kudzu Printing Co. He was diagnosed in 2015 with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. His many friends, including David LaMotte, hosted a benefit concert in his honor at White Horse Black Mountain in 2015. Kenny’s bone marrow transplant at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta has slowed the progression of the disease. And he threw himself into running! Why does he run?

"I run to cope and to heal," he said. "I run to give hope and inspire. It's why I'm up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning after staying up too late watching ‘Better Call Saul’ with my wife."

“I don't know that it's making me stronger or fitter. I'm definitely not getting much faster. But it makes me more 'me.' I get to experience 'me' at my best and my worst — almost simultaneously.... I get to review the past and plan for the future.

“And sometimes the world is OK. Sometimes the noise goes away. Sometimes I'm not scared. Sometimes I'm not angry. Or sad. Or discourteous. Or ungrateful.

“I'm happy to be alive. Running."

To continue using Kenny’s words:

“I want to show others struggling with this disease that you can’t fold up and go home. Don’t wait to die. Now is the time to bet it all. Throw those bones and let 'em ride. Don’t be afraid! You’re braver than you think, and your courage is going to generate more courage … and hope … and a cure…

“I’m going to do my part.

“On Sunday, April 1, 2018 (with a little help from my friends), I will start running from Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (and) follow the Mountains To Sea Trail for about 1,000 miles all the way to Clingman’s Dome at the western end of the state. We are calling the event 'Throwing Bones' as an homage to my jam band, Deadhead Roots, the bones that cancer has punched, and to remind me to go all-in.

“I will spend the next year and a half training and preparing for this trip by staying healthy, mostly listening to my doctors and killing it on the trails. I’m quickly building up a fantastic team and they’re all going to get me there!

“There is hope. There will be a cure. Until there is a cure, there is life. I’m proof and I will not fade away. How will you throw your bones?”