Craig Sager Jr. had doctor’s orders not to run The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, but he did anyways.
Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager Sr., Sager Jr. boarded MARTA with the tens of thousands of other racers to get to the starting line.
“I’d say the hardest part was walking from MARTA to the starting line,” Sager Jr. said. “We walked like two miles…once I got loose and once I got to the three mile mark it kind of got in the rhythm and went away but when I first got off MARTA and walked the two miles to get to the starting line I was not happy.”
Sager Jr. checked into Northside Hospital on Thursday morning for his 7:30 a.m. procedure to have bone marrow extracted through two holes in his lower back. His father was diagnosed with Leukemia in April. Thursday’s transplant was one of the final steps in Sager Sr.’s recovery.
Sager Jr., 25, still had his hospital identification bands on his right hand, behind his blue Shepherd’s Center running wristbands. He had to report back to Northside Hospital after the race at 10 a.m. for a post-operation check-up and to get his bandages removed.
“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race … so they’re not going to be happy,” Sager Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6 p.m. and then just went to bed.”
This year was the first time in 32 years that Sager Sr. missed the race while it was his son’s tenth straight year running the Peachtree.
“That’s the one thing I said, I was like please just don’t do it on the third, can we do it earlier? But they had to do it that day,” Sager Jr. said.
Sager Sr. was supportive of his son’s decision to run, even if the doctors were not.
“He said he’d probably do the same thing and my whole family ran it too,” Sager Jr. said.
Sager Jr. started the race with his mother and two sisters but they were separated by the end. In 2013, Sager Jr. finished in about 42 minutes.
“That wasn’t going to happen this year,” Sager Jr. said.
This year, he finished in about one hour and 17 minutes.
“I knew it was going to be pretty hard, like I’ve had surgeries before but never the day before,” Sager Jr. said. “Obviously I didn’t want to take any of the pain pills. I’m not trying to run a 10k on OxyContin. So I just had to deal with it.”
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