by Robert Perednia
I was introduced to the world of Spartan Racing last year at the Amesbury Sprint and was not prepared how it would change the way I look at life. Literally crawling up a trail while struggling to catch my breath, I was wondering why years of sports, weight-lifting, and running weren’t helping my legs get me up this hill. Eventually crossing the finish line covered in mud, bruises, and scrapes was a great experience but also a motivation. I went home and trained hard to attempt another race.
With a little luck, I was able to finish the Tri-State Super and Vermont Beast. The training challenged me physically and emotionally in ways I couldn’t even imagine possible, but the experience was incredible. I’ve met inspiring people I now call my friends, been on top of mountains overlooking beautiful landscapes, felt great highs, and overcome frustrating lows. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to experience these feelings and that makes it all the more special to me.
This is why I chose to run for Zack.
Zack is my friend and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a genetic disorder affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 male births and results in progressive muscle weakness. Because the heart is a muscle and the lungs require muscle to function properly, young men with DMD typically only live into their twenties. Zack is now 20 and only able to control his fingers and head, confining him to a wheelchair. However, he is living life to the fullest and continues to excel every day. Zack is in college studying video-game design, a genius with computers, and is more educated about cars than anybody I know. Zack and other courageous young men with DMD prove strength cannot be measured and remind us that we should all take pride in the gifts we have.
So this year my goals for Spartan racing have changed. Zack is my motivation to not just finish but to run each event as hard
as I possibly can. If I am lucky enough to place within earning a cash prize, all will go to Zack’s foundation to benefit finding a cure for DMD. The Zack Heger Foundation has been huge in supporting Muscular Dystrophy research and helped show that preventative care can improve quality of life and increase life expectancy. My small part is to be a voice for Zack’s amazing story and raise awareness for the countless other boys who have been affected by Muscular Dystrophy.
It is a privilege to run Spartan Races and Zack has helped me realize how fortunate I really am. Whether you’re competitively racing, running for fun, training at the gym, or walking the dog, what we are able to do is a blessing. I truly believe the goal in life is to make a positive difference for someone else and I hope my excitement and passion inspires you to do the same.
See you at the starting line.
For more information and to show your support, visit www.zackhegerfoundation.org.