Someone 2 Know: Erika Root - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know: Erika Root

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In competitive running, when an athlete picks up speed during the last 100 meters or so, it's referred to as "the kick".

University of Nevada, Reno distance runner Erika Root is a master at it. Little did she know she would have to use that same grit to kick cancer. She was only 22 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma. Just one year later, this track star is back competing at the thing she loves most – running.

For this week’s Someone 2 Know we met with the young athlete on the track at UNR’s Mackay Stadium.

Strong, fast and agile are all words you could use to describe Erika Root - she's been a competitive runner since middle school. But, after watching her smile while talking about fighting her cancer, you could add the word - optimistic.

"It wasn’t the greatest. I wouldn't sign up for it again, necessarily, but, it really only took 10 months and then, like, sometimes you feel good and sometimes you don't, but the times you feel good you can still run and stuff, so..."

Yes, she still ran while on chemotherapy. This girl is tough.

"She's come back rapidly. I mean she's come back with intent," says her coach Kirk Elias.

Through chemotherapy, surgeries and recovery, Erika also kept up with her studies. Now it's track and field season and her senior year. 

Erika says her coach has been a great support.

"Coach E was there when I got the diagnosis, and he's had lymphoma before - twice, so..." says Erika.

Coach E remembers that day in the hospital with Erika. "My initial remark to her was, 'look it - I did this and you're a lot tougher than I am and I'm still here 36 years later."

Along with a trainer, Erika and her coach came up with a plan to get her back on the track.

"We just kept kinda building on all the milestones I had and then, you know - you're ready to race. Let's see how it goes," says Erika.

This weekend will be Erika’s first race since being diagnosed and Coach Elias says he already knows it's going to be an awesome day."I just want her to come back and be able to experience the joy she gets in racing again."

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