Caregiver support, Healthy Lifestyle

Meet TeamEdith: Cyrus Rhode Jr.

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By The Edith Sanford team

July 1, 2015

When he’s not climbing mountains, Cyrus Rhode Jr. runs at least a marathon a month.

His energy and athleticism is seriously impressive by any standards, but more so given that this Pennsylvania native is 71 and was in his 40s before he ever began running.

We had a chance to meet Cyrus in person at the 2015 Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge, where Edith Sanford was the official charity partner. Outfitted head to toe in his TeamEdith gear, and beaming after a sublime second-place finish in his age division, Cyrus was hard to miss.

Not only had he met his goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, he’d done it while raising awareness and contributing more than $1,000 to help end breast cancer.

What inspired you to join TeamEdith?

My girlfriend is a survivor of breast cancer. I really wanted to run for her and support breast cancer research. I know her greatest fear is that the cancer will come back. She lives on a cloud of uncertainty, but my presence on TeamEdith gives her some solace. It helps her know there’s someone with her.

I was also moved to action when I saw the photos Angelo Merendino took of his wife as she battled breast cancer.

I was blown away seeing the emotional pain.

I thought to myself, ‘I want to be like this man; like a steady rock in support of those suffering from breast cancer.’ So I pledged on my fundraising page to contribute $1,000 if I met the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

When I received my bib number by email, I couldn’t believe it—it was 1000! I knew right then and there I would make it. I really pushed it and ran for all those suffering from breast cancer. Their strength inspires me.

Have you always had such a passion for running?

Actually, I didn’t become a runner until I was 40, and I was 59 before running my first marathon.

I started running because of health issues. I was overweight. I was born with a disposition to respiratory diseases and had very poor lung capacity, so I didn’t think running was something I could do. But I slowly overcame the respiratory issues.

I’ve run more than 127 marathons now, in all 50 states, seven continents and six World Marathon Majors. It’s been a priceless experience.

Life is a beautiful gift, and running is one way to feel life.

Any training secrets?

The first is consistency. When you spend so much time training for a marathon, you might as well stay at that level. Let it be part of your lifestyle.

The second is my breathing style, which is synchronized with my feet. I run in a rhythm: quick, quick, slow, where my quick is inhalation, and slow is a strong exhalation. It helps me use energy more efficiently and relax.

Of course, everyone has their own style. I wouldn’t want to change anyone’s style that works for them.

What was the best part of running for TeamEdith?

The camaraderie and fun; you feel like you have a little family of support!

Running for a cause as important as breast cancer research gives you extra motivation. It gives you a little extra push and brings your running to another level.

Have you joined TeamEdith yet? Whether you run, walk, bike or host an event, through TeamEdith you can unite your passion with our mission to end breast cancer. Learn more!

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