MEDIAPOLIS – Steve Cannon epitomizes what it means to be an athlete. Twenty years ago he could barely finish a 5K, but now Cannon has completed about 100 marathons and almost 30 RAGBRAI’s.
He’s not only physically fit, but he has the mental toughness to overcome anything. And he did just that when he crossed the Iditarod finish line on his bike.
“26 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes and 11 seconds,” said Cannon.
That’s how long it took him to cross the finish line at the Iditarod Trail Invitational.
“For me this is the superbowl.”
Cannon is from Mediapolis which is in eastern Iowa near Burlington. He says he found his love for endurance sports a few decades ago after having a tough adulthood.
He’s now among only a handful of people who can say they completed the world’s largest winter race.
While also making history, becoming the first Iowan to do it on a fat tire bike.
“Kim Reynolds had given me and Iowa flag and said hang this sucker from the finish line if you get there. So there is a huge amount of pride in that.”
The grueling 1,000 mile race tested the 52-year-old in every way possible. He credits his mental strength for pushing him along.
“There was no good, there was no bad, there was only forward.”
Steve says some days dipped well into the sub-zeros topping out around -50. As storms raged around him. One even getting so bad he thought he might need to be rescued.
But even with all the challenges, there were surreal moments that Steve will never forget.
“And then, woof, woof, woof you would hear it and here come a dog team and you’re like I’m sharing the trail with the greatest dogs on the planet.”
Throughout the journey, Steve always remembers who he’s racing for.
“Why I do everything I’m doing is to help benefit those people in the cancer fight.”
So far, he’s raised about $700,000 for charity. And currently supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. With friends and family who’ve fought cancer, he says the disease is the biggest life motivation.
“For me it’s the greatest gift of cancer is that it makes people see their experation date. And if we all work up tomorrow or went to bed tonight knowing our expiration date we would not screw around we would get started.”
For more information on Cannon, click here.