Here is this week’s update from race-walker Robert Hardy. Hardy provides The Review with regular updates on his progress and marathon training. Here is this week’s report:
I have a busy racing schedule and with this schedule I am gaining a lot of popularity among other athletes. I set lofty goals and achieve them. I train hard and have adapted a race walking technique that accommodates the HUGO ROLLATOR. I overcame obstacles, my disabilities, and achieved lofty goals and to get there invested wisely for my retirement. And now I’m 68 and feeling great. Ready for my first 100-km race walk on September 8th and 9th, just before my 69th birthday. Hopefully, 69 and feeling fine.
And for the third time I have been invited to speak again. What I did and still do is overtake runners with my walker. In my first speaking event last August the majority of questions and comments were related to being overtaken by a walker, well, an old guy pushing a walker. Yes, I am disabled and the real reason I need a walker. I hate the word disabled.
The other frequently asked question: Can I walk without a walker? Yes, I can manage about one km but it really hurts my artificial hip. My balance has been off since 2012 when I had two blood clots, three surgeries and spent three months in hospital. My hip was replaced in November 2009. It’s ceramic because I could not have a titanium one because of my leukaemia. It really has worked very well. 6,000 km of bicycling and 10,000 km of race walking in 10 years.
Five years of racing: Since my first half marathon in 2014 I have improved my time from 2 hrs, 48 min to 2 hrs, 20 min in 2019. Since my first full, 42.2-km marathon in 2016 I improved my time from 6 hrs, 28 min to 5hrs, 23 min at the Toronto Marathon last October. I lost a bit of time last week in Ottawa because of mechanical and physical problems and slipped back to 5 hrs, 31 min. Another opportunity in Toronto in October to get a 5-hour, or less marathon. Got to get busy to achieve my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2020.
Because of the racing my speaking events suddenly took off last August in Orleans. What happened. After my successful 2018 Ottawa Marathon I was asked by the Orleans Running Group to talk about walker racing and how and why I do it and so I prepared a humorous multi-media presentation with lots of surprises and it worked, although the projector and screen did not. The real surprise was the standing ovation. I returned in October for an encore presentation to a very full house. Standing room only. A large portion of the group were sitting behind me, or on top of me.
2019: After my St, Lawrence Marathon, half marathon race on April 26th I was asked again if I could speak in Ottawa. Speaking for a cause. Since it is the 22nd anniversary of my bone marrow transplant for leukaemia I chose to support the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the Ottawa General Campus by cooperating with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and creating my “Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Goals” fundraiser. The event will take place at the Shenkman Arts Centre, Ottawa on Tuesday, June 25th . Tickets are $25.00. Tickets are available now at www.bobhardythewalkerrunner.com
Bob’s incredible story of overcoming impossible odds to achieve his goals. Fighting leukaemia, blood clots and more. Proving a walker is a bona fide racing machine. Proving a loss of balance is only a stepping stone to victory and an artificial hip is a race walker’s dream. Proving a disability is not a handicap. Proving life is really great at 68.
June 9. Next weekend I’m back fighting obesity with my “Walk for Life Challenge” in Alexandria. This is not a fundraiser. We want you to donate a 5 -km walk. I start at 8.45 am with a 25-km walk race from Alexandria to Glen Robertson and return to Mill Square where I join with the 5-km walkers for a 5-km walk to Tim Horton’s and back. Free coffee. Other athletes will talk about their health issues. Stephen Last who lost 200 lbs to race a marathon spoke on May 12.