MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Bruce Gregory spends long hours each week as Coastal Carolina's Senior Associate Athletic Director of Internal Operations.
During his lunch break each day Gregory runs close to five miles, a habit he began over a decade ago. What started as a reason to stay active has become so much more, he eventually entered his first marathon with a goal time of four hours.
"My finishing time was 4:01, so my wife was looking at me at the finish line and asks me 'you're going to run another one aren't you,' and I said I have to, I didn't meet my goal," recalled Gregory.
The original goal has been shattered; Gregory has completed 25 marathons, usually finishing them in the three and a half hour range.
But in 2005, just two weeks after qualifying for his first Boston Marathon, Gregory got a scare that threatened to take his passion of running away. One night he suffered a series of passing out spells and was rushed to a hospital
"I went and had surgery and had a pacemaker implanted," said Gregory.
After his pacemaker procedure it was right back to running, he finished the Myrtle Beach Marathon the very next year. But in 2008, with the Myrtle Beach Marathon again on the horizon, Gregory's family was floored with more unexpected news.
"My daughter, when she was 19 years old, she was diagnosed with Leukemia," Gregory continued, "It actually happened a little over two weeks before the Myrtle Beach Marathon."
After six months in and out of hospitals Megan went into remission, and at the next year's Myrtle Beach Marathon, there she was, waiting for her dad at the finish line. Where she will be again this Saturday as Bruce is set to run in his 26th marathon
"I've started dedicating the 22nd mile of every marathon that I've run to Megan, she used to wear number 22 when she played soccer and was born on the 22nd," Gregory added, "I spend a lot of time in prayer during that mile and thankful for everything that goes on."
Megan is set to graduate from Coastal Carolina this May.
A portion of all the entry fees from each Myrtle Beach Marathon supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Carolina.