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Bozeman's James Cole competes at Missoula Marathon while battling cancer

James Cole's family embraces him after the half marathon Missoula Mt.
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-26 18:58:27-04

MISSOULA — On the surface, James Cole’s story is like many others who came to town for the Missoula Marathon last weekend.

Cole is a husband, a father, a new grandfather, and a returning runner for the half marathon. This year a new chapter was added to his story but it is not one he welcomed or expected — cancer.

“Who would’ve thought that last fall our world would’ve been turned upside down with a phone call that instantly changed the trajectory of our lives and our plans. But I think that’s the nature of the disease," Cole said when asked about his diagnosis.
Cole is halfway through his treatment for stage 3 melanoma. Since he was diagnosed in the fall he’s been determined to not let this disease take control of his life, so he set a goal to still run the half marathon with his daughter Rebekah and son-in-law Noah Miller.

James Cole in Caras Park Missoula Mt.
James Cole in Caras Park Missoula Mt.

“I watched him show up and work hard, pour his heart out to us, love us, support us, and just watching him show that strength and that fight he really ... he’s a fighter and I’m seeing that in such a new way right now and it’s really remarkable to see," Rebekah Cole told MTN News.

No moment was more remarkable than watching Cole and his family cross the finish line together.

“I didn’t think we had it in us," James Cole said. "I didn't think I had it in me to be able to make this, it is a testament to this battle we have against cancer but really to these folks around me to this family. We are going to continue to battle against this cancer and this day is evidence that it does not get a victory.”

James and his family finished the half marathon in 2 hours and 56 minutes.