No Colon, But Cal's Collin Jarvis Is Still Rollin'




The officials called the runners to the starting line for section three of the men’s mile at the MPSF Indoor Championships. One by one, they lined up according to hip number, each wearing their respective school’s singlet.

One runner carried something extra, unnoticeable to spectators.

Underneath his Cal singlet, Collin Jarvis wore an ileostomy bag, meant to hold bodily waste, attached to his small intestine.

He has no colon.

He hadn't raced in two years.
 
“Before anything like this happened, I would be upset with times that don’t even seem fathomable to me right now," Jarvis said. “I would walk away from getting second at Pac-12s in the steeple just angry and livid.  
 
“I want to go back and just slap the old Collin in the face and tell him how lucky he is to be out there.” 
 
There was a time when racing seemed like a distant memory, and one that may never be realized again for the 2012 Pac-12 steeplechase champion.

In the fall of 2013, Jarvis was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a disease of the large intestine or colon where the organ becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. It was a diagnosis that changed Jarvis’ life forever. 
 
Just the year before, he enjoyed the most successful running year of his life, clocking personal bests in every event from the 1500m up to the 5-K, winning the Pac-12 steeplechase title, and earning second-team All-Pac-12 and All-West Region honors in cross country. 
 
In February of 2013, he noticed that despite running well during the indoor season his body felt abnormal. After seeing blood in his stool, he saw doctors to determine the cause. They told him that he had hemorrhoids. He kept running through the season, but after a few months the symptoms worsened and more issues arose. He was using the bathroom much more frequently and feeling extreme fatigue. Nevertheless, Jarvis continued to train harder, thinking that was the only way he could improve upon his 2012 success. 
 
But his 2013 outdoor season ended in disappointment when he failed to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He attempted to move on by training hard through the summer for the upcoming cross-country season, but his symptoms persisted. In a last-ditch effort to find a root cause, Jarvis turned to the internet to research his situation. After more consultation with doctors, he underwent a sigmoidoscopy, which revealed he didn't have hemorrhoids, but instead suffered from Ulcerative Colitis.
 
Relieved to finally have a definitive answer, Jarvis was put on anti-inflammatory drugs and given a specific diet plan, but soon thereafter began suffering intense abdominal pain. Between September to November, all of the disease’s symptoms surfaced, and the pain became intense to the point where he could no longer run. 
 
Over that three-month span, Jarvis’ body was shutting down. The once-muscular, 160-pound steeplechaser withered down to a waif 130-pound man who labored to complete mundane tasks he once took for granted, like walking to class and sleeping painlessly through the night. 

“I was a different person, I looked like a little saggy grey skeleton, just not a pretty sight,” Jarvis said. 
 
“I had doubts that I would ever be able to come back and start running again,” Jarvis said. “I mean, I was laying in a hospital bed with J.P. [Slater], my old teammate, calling me and giving me updates on how everyone was doing at MPSF. That was hard.” 
 
In March of 2014, Jarvis was forced to request a medical leave of absence from UC Berkeley in order undergo a series of emergency surgeries to have his colon, which became partially perforated, removed. After his initial surgery, Jarvis experienced complications due to an infection and was in and out of the hospital for six months.

In the fall of 2014, he was able to slowly resume running again, with an ileostomy bag attached to his side. Instead of using the bathroom normally, Jarvis’ body produces waste that empties into the ileostomy bag. Doctors informed him that while he would be able to jog again, he would never compete at the level he once did.

He didn’t accept that prognosis.
 
“I started doing my own online research,” Jarvis said. “I mean, it is never really a great idea to self-diagnose, but I didn’t find anything about anybody who had tried to compete at that level again afterwards. At first, that sounded like bad news to me. I just assumed that no one had been able to. But then I started to think about it like, well, maybe no one has ever tried.”
 
Determined to give competitive running one last shot, the San Diego-native spent time with his family at home, surfed the old spots he knew and loved, and enjoyed running again at a slow pace. He was even able to travel to New Zealand and backpack through the country for the month of December. In January, he re-enrolled at Cal to finish his final semester, and after sitting out of competition for two years, was granted eligibility for the indoor and outdoor track seasons. 
 
Jarvis is now running 75-80 miles a week with one hard day and two rest days to break up a typical week of training. Coaches and trainers monitor him daily to ensure his body responds positively. On February 28 at the Dempsey Indoor, Jarvis completed his first race in two years in a Cal uniform, finishing the mile in 4:16. He didn’t win his heat and his time was 14 seconds off his personal best, but he viewed the race as a triumph. 
 
“I know what I ran wasn’t anything spectacular,” Jarvis said. “I didn’t break four minutes in the mile. I didn’t qualify for Nationals or anything, but it was a victory for me to just step on the starting line again and be able to run a race and feel good about it." 
 
“As long as I’m out here competing and representing Cal for one last year, I can end on a high note, and I’ll look back with no regrets.” 
 
While the expectations have changed and the training plan is much more conservative, Jarvis is taking everything one day at a time, carrying with him life-changing perspective. 
 
“It’s a whole new opportunity ahead of me,” Jarvis said. “I’m not planning on letting it go to waste.”

Christian Coleman Crushes 60m World Record In His Season Opener

DT8ZhghXkAY1zsK-1.jpg

Today, in his first meet of the year, Christian Coleman set the bar for his season incredibly high and put the world on notice. 

Vincent Crisp Runs Fastest Collegiate Time Ever For 600 Yards

Kirby Lee VincentCrisp.jpg

Texas Tech junior Vincent Crisp posted the fastest indoor collegiate mark of all time over 600 yards on Friday. Competing at the Texas Tech Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, Crisp ran 1:08.16 and held off TCU’s Derrick Mokaleng, who ran 1:08.18.

Michael Saruni Runs World Best In Indoor 600m

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 8.12.01 AM.png

On Friday night, Michael Saruni continued his hot start to 2018. The UTEP sophomore ran a world best time of 1:14.79 in the 600m at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational in Albuquerque.  

Austin, Texas, Chasing History With Olympic Trials Bid

Capital.png

Austin, Texas, has hosted the NCAA track and field championships and currently stages one of the largest track meets of the calendar, the Texas Relays. The city has a robust road racing scene, bolstered by the presence of elite athletes and high-level training groups. But Austin has never hosted a USA track and field championship event — not for any distance on the roads, cross country or track and field. And certainly not the Olympic Trials. 

Justin Gatlin Switches Coaches After Investigation Uncovers Doping Scandal

Gatlin.jpg

Justin Gatlin has officially begun his career after Dennis Mitchell. Reuters reported on Friday that Gatlin is being coached by Brooks Johnson in Orlando, Florida. Gatlin fired Mitchell in December after Mitchell was implicated in a doping sting facilitated by the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. 

Robert Kigen, Felix Kandie Headline Napoli City Half Marathon

NCHM-1024x556.jpg

Nobert Kigen and Felix Kandie of Kenya headline a men’s pro field aiming for a sub-60 minute performance at the fifth Napoli City Half Marathon in Naples, Italy.

Olympians, Top Collegians Clash At Larry Wieczorek Invitational

WC17+-+Fred+Kerley+-+400m+semi-1.jpg

The Larry Wieczorek Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the University of Iowa has it all: top professional athletes like Fred Kerley, Olympic champions and world record holders like Aries Merritt, and defending NCAA champions like Mikiah Brisco of LSU. 

Centro Passing On Indoors In 2018

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports CentroWillis.jpg

Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz is skipping the indoor season and instead will race outdoors in Australia. 

20 Events You Cannot Miss at The VA Showcase!

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Tyrese Cooper

The 2017 VA Showcase saw 11 U.S. No. 1 performances, two national records, and its alumni went on to win a staggering 33 indoor national titles. Needless to say, it was the greatest regular season meet of all time. 

Mondo's Swedish Indoor Record, Men's Pole Vault Summit Marks Invalidated

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Mondo eighth at Worlds 2017

By Becca Peter of @PoleVaultPower

The 2018 UCS/Spirit National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, featured some of the best elite performances in the event’s 28-year history, including world-leading marks by Mondo Duplantis and Sandi Morris.