Tom Koons: Running for his children

Tom Koons favorite part of running used to be stopping. Now, it’s running with and for his children.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Tom Koons (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Tom Koons’ favorite part of running used to be stopping, but when doctors diagnosed his daughter Elizabeth with brain cancer in 2003, it took on a whole new meaning.

Elizabeth always liked to run. But after a successful operation to remove a tumor from her brain rendered her blind on the left side in both eyes, she needed someone to run alongside her.

That’s where Tom, in his late 50s at the time, came in.

Their first race was a 3-miler in Virginia Beach a year after the surgery. To this day, they still run long distances together. While it hasn’t been easy for him, Tom enjoys the challenge.

“It forces you into exercising on a more regular basis,” he says. “You get to be around people, and I’ve learned I can’t be by myself for too long.”

This Thanksgiving, 72-year-old Tom Koons will run in the York Turkey Trot. Like other races he's ran, it has a special meaning for him.


Tom’s son Dave, a former high school runner at York Suburban and later at Towson University, used to join them. But in late Fall 2016, doctors found a tumor in his chest.

Tom and his wife, Linda, constantly traveled to Maryland to be with him at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in Maryland. They found solace in a group of friends who were there every step of the way.

“They just dug in, helped out and took over when all this turmoil started happening in our lives,” Tom says. “Our friends are like gold.”

On July 1, 2017, Dave died from cancer. He was 43.

Four months later, Tom and more than a dozen friends and family ran the Fall Flash 5K in Wrightsville – all wearing bold, red shirts with the words “Run 4 Dave” written across the chest.

Today, Tom’s 72 and still enjoys running. He’s signed up for the York Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

He’ll run as long as his body lets him. He’ll run with Elizabeth. He’ll run for Dave.

Sponsored by

SpiriTrust Lutheran provides exceptional health, human and senior living services by supporting persons in achieving an optimal quality of life.
1050 Pennsylvania Ave. York, PA 17404

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