SOLON, Ohio - While many of the world's top athletes are in London at the Summer Olympics, hundreds of others are in northeast Ohio.
They're running in a race than many Olympians probably couldn't finish. But one Solon runner is competing in the race for the fourth time. Some people think 56-year-old Rich Henderson is out of his mind.
"My kids call me 'Crazy Rick.' I think the reason for that is obvious," Henderson said. Saturday 'Crazy Rick' will try defending his title. He's the reigning Burning River 100 Endurance Run National Champion for age 55 and over. The Burning River 100 is a 100 mile trail run.
"I hope to finish somewhere between 21 and 24 hours," he said.
The fact that Rich is running at all, let alone a 100 mile endurance race, is simply amazing.
"Several years ago I couldn't even fertilize my lawn. My back progressed to a point where I couldn't even walk anymore, so I knew it was time to have surgery at the Cleveland Clinic," Henderson said before a recent early morning training run.
He had surgery for a broken back. It was performed by Dr. Robert McLain.
"When you see this it's such a great demonstration of what people can accomplish. It fills you with satisfaction," Dr. McLain commented.
Henderson trains by running about 120 miles per week, including 20 miles on Saturday and 20 more miles on Sunday.
"In the last 13 years I've run over 40,000 miles. I often ask myself what the heck was Forrest Gump doing. He should have run a lot more miles in two-and-a-half years in that movie. I think he must've been sitting around an awful lot," Henderson joked.
It's safe to say Henderson certainly will not be sitting around this weekend.
The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run starts in Willoughby Hills and goes along the banks of the Cuyahoga River and through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The run ends in Cuyahoga Falls.
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