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Buddies continue pursuit of healthy lifestyle at Smelt Run

February 26, 2018 GMT

LA CONNER — For Wray Cason and Oscar Hunt, running in the 10K portion of the Smelt Run was not merely a chance for the two friends from Everett to compete in a race together.

The event continued a journey that started nearly a year ago for the two to get back into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cason, 50 pounds lighter than a year ago, finished last Saturday while battling the tail end of the flu. Hunt, who has shed 35 pounds, finished a half-hour in front of his buddy, but was cheering him on at the finish line.

In addition to the Smelt Run, which included a 10K, 5K, 2K family walk and a kids’ dash, the 53rd annual Smelt Derby Family Festival & Smelt Run, amidst a steady fall of wet snow, featured a pancake breakfast, fishing derby and treasure hunt.

Last April, Cason and Hunt began running together when they decided they needed to make healthier life choices.

Cason, 46, started gaining weight after leaving the Marine Corps in 2000. For years, he brushed aside the added weight, rationalizing it was just something that happened with age. But eventually, acid reflux, sleep apnea and nighttime seizures made him pay attention.

“It kind of occured to me, ’Wow, I’ve let myself go,” Cason said.

After stepping on the scale and finding out he was 50 pounds heavier than he was in 2000, Cason got serious about taking his life back. He and his wife went on a diet and started exercising.

For Hunt, 34, the need to lose weight came after a worrisome blood test.

“The results were not happy,” Hunt said. “I felt I needed to change the way I was living.”

These days, the two friends run five miles together each Saturday and a 10K every two months. The Smelt Run was their fifth 10K.

Their previous race was the Anacortes Jingle Bell Dash in December.

“I’m so much healthier, so much stronger than I used to be,” Cason said.