Why do people run? Some tout the health benefits. Others thrive on competition. And some say we’ve been running ever since our ancestors encountered the saber-toothed tiger. No matter your reason, running can do wonders for heart research as a whole.
On May 19, two brave Transamerica employees are taking on the Colfax Half Marathon in Denver to support heart health awareness. Steve Sweeney and Ryan Glascott are running as Transamerica Go-Givers, meaning they’ll be starting the race at the back of the pack. For every runner they pass, Transamerica will donate a dollar to the American Heart Association. Our last two Go-Givers passed over 5,000 runners! Let’s get to know this year’s competitors:
Put simply, Ryan isn’t supposed to run. Medically speaking, his story is nothing short of miraculous. Ryan underwent ten knee surgeries in his first 25 years of life, the most invasive being an external fixator on his left knee. The procedure put him in the hospital for three weeks, in a wheelchair for six months, and in physical therapy for two years. He says spending half a year bound to a wheelchair gave him a newfound appreciation for mobility. Since then, he’s cranked his active lifestyle up to 11 — cycling, skiing, hiking, and fly fishing all around Colorado.
However, running a long race is new to Ryan. Colfax will be his first half marathon, and as a Go-Giver, he’ll be doing it for a great cause. So far, he’s been running at least two to three times per week to train. He does one or two short runs during the week, and then a longer run on the weekends, building up to the length of a half marathon.
In addition to the donations on behalf of Transamerica, Ryan’s colleagues are also having a little fun and donating $.25 for each person he passes. He says he’s a little nervous about the race and he hopes he doesn’t injure himself, but he’s very much looking forward to it.
“This was a snap decision on my part, but I want to prove to myself that I can do it,” says Ryan. “I know I won’t be the fastest runner, but I’m getting out of my comfort zone and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Running half marathons is old hat for Steve. He’s racked up nearly 20 so far, but he still sees the Go-Giver opportunity as a challenge.
“Sometimes I wonder what people outside the running world would think if they really knew the suffering we subjected ourselves to in the weeks and months leading up to the big day,” says Steve. “Only then would they know the true levels of madness they’re witnessing.”
Steve jumped at the chance to be a Go-Giver when the call was put out to Denver employees. He fully embraces the Wealth + HealthSM lifestyle and says he feels fortunate that he hasn’t had to deal with any major health issues throughout his life.
“The way I see it, we’re the lucky ones and we owe it to those who are not so fortunate to make the most of our good health,” says Steve. “It should never be taken for granted.”
Ultimately, Steve’s biggest motivator is his family. He wants his three kids to make healthy choices and he says his active Colorado lifestyle allows him to show them, rather than just tell, how leading a healthy lifestyle can pay off down the road.
Steve is logging at least 25 miles a week in preparation for the big race and he keeps to a strict regimen. His personal record is 1:51. He aims to beat that at the Colfax race and raise a lot of money for the American Heart Association in the process.
“I think once I hit my stride and internalize the reason I’m running, the adrenaline will kick in,” adds Steve. “I can’t wait.”
Things to Consider:
- Responsible for over 366,800 deaths each year, heart disease is still the number one killer among Americans1
- The symptoms of high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be subtle, even unnoticeable.
- Thankfully, maintaining your heart health can be accomplished at any age.
1 American Heart Association, 2018