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Mike Levine receiving treatment.

Mike Levine receiving treatment.

It all began 35 years ago while Mike was relaxing at home on a rainy spring afternoon watching the ABC Wide World of Sports coverage of the February 1982 Ironman World Championship. Played out before his eyes was one of the most incredible dramas in sports history ever witnessed when a young college student, Julie Moss crawled on the ground for the last 30 feet, was passed at the last second to the finish line by another young coed, Kathleen McCartney who won the race. He was mesmerized by that event, as were millions watching around the world and he immediately signed up to do the race himself the following October with his new found passion for the World’s most grueling single day endurance event.

I will NEVER allow Cancer to dictate my life and I will survive and thrive.
— Mike Levine

Mike successfully finished the October 82 and 83 Ironman World Championships and went on to compete in over 100 Triathlons and Marathons, becoming a Tri-Fed USA All American in 1994 and life was great, UNTIL March of 2015 and his life changed forever.

Mike and his beautiful wife Jan just returned from a vacation to Hawaii in March of 2015. He noticed for several days unusual symptoms when visiting the bathroom, abnormal stool and urine discoloration. He went to see his family doctor who ran some tests. Additional tests came back and the news was devastating. Being informed that he had the deadliest form of cancer with the poorest prognosis sent himself and wife into an emotional tailspin. Statistics were that Mike would most likely be dead within 12 months, maybe with a lot of luck, a brief extension of time ensuing a difficult surgery. A lifetime regimen of chemo therapy would begin shortly thereafter while he slept on the couch for the next 18 months post- surgery waiting to die.

Powered by Chemo: Patient with Pancreatic Cancer Tackles Ironman by UCSD Health


Then by chance, a flight attendant friend of Mike's wife suggested that he meet her best friend, ‘Yes’, the Kathleen McCartney’ who won the 1982 Ironman and go for a bike ride with her. Kathleen heard about Mike's story and wanted to reach out. On a fateful day in mid- January 2017 they went on that bike ride together, albeit short due to his weakness, but this initial brief adventure for Mike would become the catalyst for an amazing friendship. Kathleen became his mentor, coach, training partner and dear friend. Mike got stronger day by day, his immune system improved as did the stability and calmness of the cancer and the best part of all, Mike returned to the starting line at the October 2017 Ironman World Championship as an Ambassador Athlete Inspirational Story for Ironman with Kathleen by his side. Kathleen officially became Mike's personal Cinderella and life saver.

Mike and Kathleen continue to train and race together and Mike has an ambitious 2018 Triathlon season planned. He will race distances from sprint Triathlons to Ironman 70.3 events. Mike placed second in his age group in an early spring race, so he's excited about continuous improvement and added strength to his program. In conclusion, Mike is hopeful of a return to Kona this fall to take care of 'unfinished business' and cross that magic finish line with Kathleen, hands raised high together running side by side.

Mike has made and been featured in numerous appearances and interviews with various media from print to TV and radio with his training partner, mentor and friend, Kathleen McCartney.