Dr. Galvin began running about 10 years ago, after back surgery slowed him down and he put on a few extra pounds. Besides losing weight, he wanted to set an example for his patients.
“As a physician you can’t sit in your chair at 300 pounds and tell your patients ‘you need to exercise more,’ ” says Dr. Galvin, a graduate of Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and a MetroHealth resident from 1990 to 1993.
He increased his miles over the years, running his first marathon in 2010 after two friends had been diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Since then, he’s completed five more.
In Toledo’s Glass City Marathon last April, he pushed a third friend with ALS in a running chair the entire 26.2 miles. And he ran last year’s New York City Marathon in his best time ever: 3 hours and 25 minutes, fast enough to qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon.
This will be Dr. Galvin’s first attempt at ultradistance running but he’ll have help from MetroHealth colleagues including Dr. Peter Greco who will run portions of the route alongside him to keep him at his target pace of 8- to 9-minute miles.
Dr. Galvin will also be raising money for The Blazeman Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to find a cure for ALS. Its founder, Jon Blaise, who died in 2007, is the only man with ALS to ever complete the Ironman triathlon.
"Even if I have to be rolled across the finish line, I'm finishing," Blaise said. And when he completed the race, just 30 minutes before the cutoff time, he dropped to the ground and logrolled to the finish, a tradition Blazeman Foundation supporters continue.
Will Dr. Galvin do it, too?
“Why not?” he says.
“Once you do it in your first big race, you get over the embarrassment. You do it in memory of Jon.”
And, in Dr. Galvin’s case, you run to inspire others.
“Anybody can do this,” he says. “Six years ago I had never run more than five miles at a stretch. Everybody’s got the switch they can flip to shut out all the voices in their heads that say ‘you can’t’ or ‘you shouldn’t’ or ‘it’s too hard. ’ ”
And then he repeats that old Henry Ford quote:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right.”
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