"I think about some of the people I have met through the years," Nawrocki said. "I know firsthand that some of them didn't make it."
An all-night walk
As the participants were slowly led by the bagpiper off the track and back to a stage, Miss Huntington Beaches 2008 and 2010 finished calling out the names inscribed onto the white bags, or luminaries, for those who died or are fighting cancer.
Residents bought 300 luminaries to stand sentinel through the night as residents walked and ran along the track.
The Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event that brings the community together to raise money for cancer research, treatment and services, said Lori Couto, a senior Relay for Life manager.
Residents formed teams, which pledged to have at least one participant walking around Huntington Central Park from noon Saturday to noon Sunday.
The finals numbers aren't in, but Couto said they did reach their $130,000 goal.
The day was filled with themed walks, from goofy hats and sunglasses to aprons, a bouncy obstacle course for kids and soccer playing dogs, while the Huntington Beach Firefighter's Assn. spent Saturday manning a barbecue trailer, grilling up hot dogs, tri-tip steak, chicken and tacos.
Walking about the course, Nawrocki, a Torrance resident, blended in with the other walkers. In his black zip-up hoodie, shorts, running shoes and black visor, he gave off no indication that he is an ultramarathon runner.
With just a peak of purple, the designated color for cancer survivors, visible under his hoodie, residents could see he was one of few participants who had beaten the disease they were working to eradicate.