Ed Park: Pumpkin Run Perseverance…
Ed Park: Pumpkin Run Perseverance…
By Denton Ramsey / Sports Editor
When most people are told they will never run again, they give up.
But that wasn’t the case for Grand Prairie’s Ed Park – even if doctors were telling him he’d never run again.
For Park, it’s all about perseverance, focus and dedication.
“I’ve been an avid runner for 10-15 years and I ran in a lot of Marathons and races at the local elite level,” Park said. “Over the years, I’ve had some nagging injuries where I’ve had to build my muscles back up. I’ve had asthma my whole life, and in my latter years I’ve been popping muscles.”
But that still hasn’t stopped Park from doing what he loves best – running.
“I had a hamstring muscle that was pulled doing preparation work and I tore it during my regular weight workout,” Park said. “It was really bad and it swelled up like a pillow for a month to month and a half and I could barely walk without being in excruciating pain. The injury sidelined me for six months and doctors told me that my running days were done as far as getting back to full strength.”
For Park, those words cut straight to the bone – and he felt pain beyond the muscle tears.
“That was extremely disappointing for me,” Park said. “I did rehab for months and it took about six months for me to be able to extend my leg fully. I worked my way up to a light jog after several months – just some easy stuff. I could probably put my hands down to my knees in stretches – and I kept working with this therapist because I had quarter-sized lumps in my legs and eventually I got back to where I could run and do some strides.”
Getting back to that point was a big starter for Park – as he worked past the adversities of a return to running.
“I got back to a full 95 percent in my stretching after a year,” Park said. “Then I went back to pushing hard and in the summer I just kept training and got back to full strength. I’ve always battled asthma my whole life – but it takes perseverance.”
Perseverance is the key word there.
And Park knows all about perseverance.
At Grand Prairie’s Pumpkin Run 5K, held Oct. 14 at Lynn Creek Park, Park was the ‘Overall First Male Master.’
“It’s not like being in a wheelchair, but when your normalcy in life is running and it’s taken away, it’s a humbling experience,” Park said. “It was really hard to get back to that level – my times are not as good as they used to be. But running is very rewarding sport because it’s just you and clock.
“And to do it having asthma, I couldn’t run well because of it. It’s just been neat to keep running. I run through my neighborhood and people talk about what an inspiration it is, but I just look at it as being disciplined about it.”
For Park, it’s just a matter of never giving up and pushing past any and all adversities to the finish line.
“Just don’t give up,” Park said. “My inspiration is from the people that lose weight and try their best even if they are dead last. I have spent some time coaching and last year, this kid was dead last – he’s overweight but keeps going until he drops, pukes and finishes the race – and I feel that that kid was the one that deserved the medal.”
For Park, the story is just another example of inspiration to push him past his own questioning during the rehabilitation process.
“When I got hurt like that, I said to myself, ‘I don’t know if I can run well again,’” Park said. “And when I was doing rehab, there were people in wheelchairs due to strokes and things like that – they could never walk again – and although my injury was not as bad it gave me the inspiration to overcome it. But I couldn’t have overcome it without therapy, friends and focusing on the goal.”
For those out there doubting they can ever do the things they loved again, look to Park as an inspiration.
With hard work, discipline and dedication, all things are possible.
Just look at Park – who was told he would never run competitively again – as he battled past all the adversities and won.
But according to Park, winning is about more than just a medal – it’s about trying your hardest and never giving up.
Sports Editor Denton Ramsey can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com