When John Mcgoff competes in his first full marathon in October, a part of his mother will be by his side, matching him perfectly stride for stride.
Although the 39-year-old Victoria resident only started training seriously within the last year, Mcgoff initially got into running three years ago following a kidney transplant.
“I was taking all kinds of medications after the surgery,” he said. “People tend to put weight on after the surgery and there can be blood pressure issues as well, so I took up running to get into better shape. I knew if I didn’t look after myself I would lose the kidney. It’s not easy to find a kidney, I owed it to myself and my Mom.”
Mcgoff said he will always be eternally grateful to his mother, Maureen Mcgoff, for donating one of her kidneys. After travelling to Vancouver for the surgery in 2013, mother and son had to spend months there in recovery.
“I was quite concerned for my mom’s health and didn’t want it to start deteriorating. She was 62 at the time, and the cutoff age for donors is generally 60,” Mcgoff noted. “Fortunately she takes excellent care of herself and is doing fantastic. Her health is as good with one kidney as it was with two. We’re blessed with two kidneys and you can lead a perfectly healthy life with just one.”
Mcgoff will be running to spread a message of hope when he takes part in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada on Oct. 13. “The whole idea is to emphasize the importance of registering for organ donation,” he stressed. “It takes an enormous burden on the health care system. Successful kidney transplants involve much less care and cost. People who have to stay on dialysis because they can’t find a donor have a greatly reduced quality of life. I can’t underline the importance of registering as an organ donor enough. People really do have it in them to save other people’s lives.”
Mcgoff has been building toward the event by participating in a couple of Vancouver Island Race Series and half marathons, including the Oak Bay Marathon and 5K in April, where he posted a time of two hours and two minutes. He trains a minimum of three times a week for between 30 minutes and two hours.
“I’m increasing to three hours during the summer and anywhere up to 35 kms,” said the native of Stirling, Scotland. “My running group calls me the Flying Scot,” he added with a self-deprecating chuckle in a brogue as thick as the fleece on Highland sheep. “Everyone says you must have done great with the ladies with an accent like that when you arrived in Victoria. Yeah, for about 10 minutes. It’s kind of like the nickname, the novelty wears off pretty quick.”
If you would like to make a donation on Mcgoff’s behalf to the Kidney Foundation of Canada to fund important research, walk, run or jog over to raceroster.com/events/2019/19927/goodlife-fitness-victoria-marathon-2019/pledge/participant/5040819.