WATCH: Amazing video of man finishing 200 mile race to raise cancer awareness

Tom Mitchell has finished the race! (Jay Korff)

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 16

Tom Mitchell of Burke, Virginia did it! He finished the ridiculously difficult Tahoe 200 Endurance Run in dramatic fashion. At around 11 a.m. Tuesday Mitchell crossed the finish line in Homewood, CA, only 2 hours before the 100 hour cut off time.

In order to make the cut off time Mitchell had to run a blazing fast time during the final 15 mile leg. Watch the video above to see his incredible finish for yourself.

UPDATE: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 15.

Tom Mitchell and his pacer charge into the last aid station and head back onto the course in a blazing 35 minutes knowing that they have only 7 hours to finish the final, mountainous stage of the Tahoe 200. This is it. 15 miles to go!

UPDATE: 9:20 p.m. Monday, September 14.

Tom Mitchell enters the Tahoe City aid station at mile 176 facing an uphill battle. The last leg took longer than he had hoped. To finish the race under the 100 hour time limit Mitchell is now forced to spend less time in the aid station, where runners eat, sleep and get medical attention for their blistered feet. If he can complete two more 15 mile legs by 1 p.m. Tuesday he will finish a remarkable 200 mile challenge dedicated to 200 different children who have cancer, beat cancer or died from cancer.

UPDATE: 7:33 p.m. Monday, September 14.

30 minutes ago Tom Mitchell passed mile 162 at Watson Lake. Now it's a race against time to see if he can go 43 more grueling miles by 1pm Tuesday. The Tahoe 200 is actually 205.5 miles long.

UPDATE: 5:42 p.m. Monday, September 14.

Tom Mitchell leaves Brockway Summit aid station at mile 155 with only 50 miles to go in the Tahoe 200 (it's officially 205 miles). His only problem now though could be a deal breaker. His feet are in horrible shape and they aren't getting better. But despite the pain he pushes on.

UPDATE: 5:34 a.m. Monday, September 14.

Tom Mitchell got into the Tunnel Creek aid station at mile 140 in good time but in rough shape. Now his issue is hallucinations due to sleep deprivation. He's slated to sleep for 1 hr 30 min and then forge on.

UPDATE: 9:34 p.m. Sunday, September 13.

Tom and his pacers crushed the last section, picking up critical time coming into Spooner Summit aid station at mile 123.5. They had plenty of time to make the 9 p.m. cut off so Tom took a moment to chow down on a burger and get some much needed rest.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. Sunday, September 13.

Tom Mitchell and pacers bolt out of Heavenly Ski Resort aid station at mile 103 feeling strong and in great spirits but dangerously close to the DQ cut off time. Now it's a race against time to finish 200 brutal miles in 100 hours.

UPDATE: 8:30 a.m. Sunday, September 13.

Tom Mitchell continues to struggle with blisters during his attempt to complete the arduous Tahoe 200 mile endurance run in Lake Tahoe. But coming out of the Armstrong Pass aid station at mile 88 he never looked stronger.

UPDATE: 10:17 p.m. Saturday, September 12.

Tom Mitchell, after getting much needed medical attention for his ailing feet and after being joined by his first pacer, felt much better after coming into the mile 70 aid station.

In fact, he says he feels rejuvenated and thoughts of dropping out at mile 63 are a distant memory. Now he has to keep up a faster pace to finish within the 100 hour cut off.

UPDATE: Tom Mitchell 200 mile race.

Saturday, September 12. Mitchell rolled into Wright's Lake aid station, mile 44, at 12:50 a.m. in rough shape. But he emerged with renewed spirit and energy after sleeping for an hour. His first shut eye of the race.

He departed at 2:15 a.m.

One issue is running at night in dusty conditions. When the dust kicks up runners are temporary blinded from the light of their headlamp hitting the dust cloud.

Mitchell noted that the 44 grueling miles he has covered so far were harder than the 100 mile race he finished last year in Ohio.

Friday, September 11 at 7:15 p.m. Tells Creek aid station. Mile 31.

Tom is hanging in there but is facing two challenges. He got some dust into his lungs during one of the toughest sections of the entire 200 mile course: Rubicon.

And he's developed a couple blisters which are proving quite painful. But Tom forges ahead to face his first night in the dark.

Friday, September 11 at 11:45 a.m. Despite challenging, very steep terrain Tom Mitchell breezes into aid station one, 7 miles into the race at Barker Pass...elevation 8166 feet.


On a sweltering August morning, Tom Mitchell started circling a popular running trail around Burke Lake in Springfield, Virginia. But this 5-mile loop around gentle, rolling terrain is nothing in comparison to what he's tackling. Mitchell, known by many for his myriad of tattoos, is once again running beyond the realm of reality for a cause he can't escape.

"When we start talking about our children dying it forces us to look at our own mortality, and the mortality of our own children and nobody wants to think about that," says Mitchell.

Last year, Mitchell finished a 100-mile ultra-marathon in Ohio to raise money for his foundation, Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation, and to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Mitchell lost his 18-year-old daughter Shayla to cancer in 2009.

Mitchell says, "So what happened is they put this life-saving medicine--we euphemistically call it medicine--in my daughter's body to try and cure her cancer and save her life and it stopped her heart."

Now, he's upping the ante to an absurd level. Mitchell has four days, starting Sept. 11, to complete a grueling, 200-mile mountain race that circumnavigates Lake Tahoe.

"What I'm doing is I'm trying to replicate the struggle, the pain, the reality of childhood cancer. And If I have to do it at my expense and if I have to run a million miles to prove it to you, then that's what I'll do," says Mitchell.

Mitchell isn't running alone. He's dedicating each mile to a different child who has died from or is battling cancer, including 5-year-old Sammi Rahman of Arlington.

Mitchell's non-profit provides non-medical needs like rent and groceries to families who get buried under mounting medical bills. Mitchell's foundation helped move and furnish the Rahman's apartment while Sammi went through cancer treatments.

Mitchell also brings children toys and temporary tattoos. Tom helped put a temporary tattoo on Sammi and while revealing the tattoo said, "Wow! That's a good one, isn't it? Wow, looks just like mine doesn't it? Wow, Sammi that's a good one!" Sammi was beaming.

"When you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, that's the secret to life. That boy lights me up. He has me laughing and singing. It's like I'm 5 or 6 years old when I'm with him," says Mitchell.

To prepare for such an arduous race, this admitted non-runner has been working with personal trainer Lonnie Hayes. WJLA caught up with Hayes putting Mitchell through a rigorous strength training workout at a gym used by local boxers.

Mitchell says, "So we're at the Kennel. The Kennel Boxing Club in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia."

In between painful sets of lunges, Mitchell's voice raises while talking about his reason for training for a race that will surely test him in every conceivable way.

Mitchell believes America has abandoned countless children with cancer due to meager research funds. He says outdated treatments are debilitating, and in some cases killing, young patients.

Mitchell says, "If this looks hard to you, imagine it's 50 times harder for what these kids are enduring every day in the chemotherapy clinics every day. Believe that."

In late August at the Old 690 Brewing Company in Purcellville, Virginia, hundreds of supporters gathered to wish Mitchell well during his journey to Lake Tahoe.

During this event Mitchell spent the time it took to read off all 200 names of the children he's running for.

"Mile number four, Sam Jeffers," says Mitchell.

It's where we met 17-year-old Emily Ringham of Bristow. She's mile 111.

"Out of the many people that he could have chosen, he chose me," says Ringham.

Ringham says her cure for cancer left her having to learn how to live again.

"Because my surgery cut through many of the connections in my brain, I literally forgot how to do everything physically," says Ringham.

We also met Dana Heino of Manassas at this event. Heino says the chemo meant to cure her daughter Avery took the life of her 2-and-a-half-year-old just months ago.

"It's difficult. I'm angry. I miss my daughter," says Heino.

Mitchell never knows when a home visit will be his last. Saying goodbye to Sammi Rahman was especially hard. Mitchell says the treatment designed to save Sammi damaged his heart beyond repair.

"But he can't have a heart transplant because he has cancer. They won't even consider putting him on the list. So he's come home. Come home to die," says Mitchell.

Tom Mitchell runs so someday children like Sammi will have hope where before there was precious little.

ABC7 News/News Channel 8 will be there every step of the way with "Tattoo Tom." Reporter Jay Korff will be at the race documenting Mitchell's emotional and grueling journey. Korff will provide live updates during the race online at from Sept. 11 -15.

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