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245th marathon marks milestone for Spokane woman

Dellinger had mastectomy a year ago

NEW YORK – Carol Dellinger honored the one-year anniversary of her mastectomy by running her 245th marathon on Sunday.

The 48-year-old dental assistant from Spokane says she has run 10 marathons since her surgery on Nov. 7, 2009.

“I kind of kicked cancer in the butt,” said Dellinger, who finished in 7:12:01 in Sunday’s New York Marathon.

Aside from the nine weeks she spent recovering, Dellinger runs a marathon about every three weeks. She switched from playing softball to running marathons in 1988 after her mother died from breast cancer at age 53.

It’s only her second NYC Marathon after her debut in 2006. The highlights of the five-borough race?

“You can’t beat that start on Verrazano Bridge, the amazing the energy you feel,” Dellinger said. “Then on First Avenue, the crowd is so loud you can’t hear yourself think. Central Park is pretty cool.”

Dellinger is a proponent of mammograms, which she’s been getting annually since age 35. She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a cancer of the milk ducts. It was found in eight areas, so a lumpectomy was not an option. Because it hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes, she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy.

Her next marathon is Dec. 5 in Sacramento, Calif., and it will be the the 21st time she’s run it — her most-run marathon, along with the race in Portland, Ore.

Dellinger said two other women have run more marathons. How many is enough?

“I figure 500 is a great number,” Dellinger said. “With my new lease on life, I’m just going to keep moving forward.”