‘Mayor of Runtown: The Scott Green Story:’ A Film About the Race Against the End of Time

A short film memorializing the life, impact, and cancer journey of runner Scott Green.

By on May 2, 2024 | Comments

When Scott Green shared with his friend Meghan Frahley that he was having some abdominal discomfort, she suspected it was serious.

Green, a passionate runner and an integral member of the Kansas City, Missouri, running community, also known as the Mayor of Runtown, never complained about pain. Not long after, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. While it was a terminal diagnosis, he chose to fight against the cancer in the fiercest, most unique way. At the time of his diagnosis, he had run 279 races. He was determined not to leave this world until he had completed 300.

Green’s friend Ty Johnsrud had the opportunity to document the final months of Green’s life and his final race in “Mayor of Runtown: The Scott Green Story” and was able to share some insights into making this very special film.

After moving from Boise, Idaho, to Kansas City, Missouri, running became an integral part of Green’s life, and he soon became known as the Bearded Runner in his local area. He was dedicated to his running community and always ready to do whatever he could to help people along their own journey. It seemed as if everyone knew him, simply because everyone had been impacted by his generosity. He was as fit and active as he’d ever been when he learned he had cancer that had metastasized throughout his body.

After the diagnosis, Green knew he didn’t have much time, but he never let his passion for people or running lessen. He’d found his people in the running world and told Johnsrud, “The running community made me a better person. The people I met there, the time I spent with them running, run therapy.” He found comfort and acceptance within the running community, and the community loved him right back.

With limited time, he set out to finish his final 21 races. He did them through radiation and chemotherapy. He did them while recovering from a bowel rupture that almost killed him. Even though he was fighting for his life, he kept running as long as possible. He explained to Johnsrud during an interview, “It gives me a goal. Just like I trained through all my training and did all the workouts and worked hard. I need a goal, and 300 is it.”

Mayor of Runtown runners

Scott Green got to spend his 300th race surrounded by his running community. All images are screenshots from the film.

Green’s passion for racing and being involved in the running community didn’t falter even as his health did. He loved to race, even as he began racing against time. Pace was no longer a consideration, it was just a focus on progress and perseverance toward the 300 goal.

On the day of Green’s 300th race, the forecast was uncertain, as was Green’s health. Thankfully, it ended up being a perfect spring morning, and Johnsrud captured the day beautifully.

Community members lined up before and after the event to talk with Green. Many of them shared stories, and many tears were shared as well. Pushed in a wheelchair by his family, he had the opportunity to spend time with the community he loved so much.

Mayor of Runtown Scott Green finishing final race

Scott Green, the Mayor of Runtown, finishing his final race.

A few days after Green’s 300th race, his liver failed. Johnsrud’s crew held a private screening of the film for Green and his family and friends in his home. He expressed great appreciation and passed away just three days later at the age of 56.

Johnsrud shared that initially, he was hesitant to capture Green’s story because he knew it would be difficult to tell it properly. Johnsrud and his crew recorded hours of conversation with Green, his family, and his friends, and acknowledged that it would be impossible to share all of the inspiring stories in just a short film. Instead, they focused on how the love of one man and his love for running could inspire so many people.

Running encouraged Green to push through until the very end, even on his hardest days. He’d made his family and friends promise they’d get him through 300 races in whatever way they had to, and they held true to their word.

For the film, Kansas musician Ben Chavrin created a cover for the song “All That Really Matters,” hoping to emphasize how much running can save someone and inspire them to be their best self.

The B.E.A.R.D 5K/10K will be held annually in March in Kansas City, Missouri, in Greens’s honor.

In closing, Green says, “Do your run therapy, and just don’t be so serious.”

Call for Comments

  • Has a cancer diagnosis, whether yours or someone else’s, impacted how you view running?
  • Like Green, who in your running community always ready to step up and help others?
Amber Nelson

Amber Nelson is a writer, trail and obstacle course runner, and lover of travel and new experiences. She’s been writing about all things health and fitness for about three years and especially loves writing about about anything running related. Running changed Amber’s life when she stumbled into it after a 100 pound weight loss. In her free time you can find her planning upcoming travel, listening to an audio book while running in the foothills of Boise, Idaho, or slowly chipping away at her PhD in social psychology.