RUNSWICK, Georgia: Jan. 18, 2012 – At age 41, Bud Frankenthaler had
a motorcycle accident that resulted in a concussion, collapsed lung and
18 broken bones. His doctors told him he would be crippled from arthritis
in 10 years. To prove them wrong, he began to exercise...and never stopped.
Not only did he defy the doctors’ predictions and never developed
arthritis, on Feb. 18, the 78 ½-year-old Jesup resident will participate
in the Southeast Georgia Health System Bridge Run for the ninth time.
He is a big fan of the event, which is celebrating its “tenth year
running.” To date, he is the Bridge Run’s oldest competitor.
“It is the truest bridge run I know of. In other bridge runs, only
a quarter or a half of the run is on the bridge; the rest is on flat ground.
This bridge is 2.5-kilometer long, and because you start on the bridge,
go over it, make a U-turn and come back, the entire 5K run takes place
on the bridge. Only 130 feet of the run is flat, and that's at the
top,” Frankenthaler says.
Frankenthaler knows the trick to running on a bridge. “You have to
run a little differently, so as not to pull your muscles. You can't
go downhill too fast,” he explains. “Going uphill is like
climbing steps. You have to take a shorter pace than normal, and your
muscles will react well.”
After his accident, Frankenthaler started exercising by getting off the
elevator one floor below his twenty-third floor office and running up
the stairs. As he grew stronger, he added a floor at a time until he could
run up all 23 flights. He also swam in a friend’s lap pool.
When he moved from New Jersey to Georgia, he took up running and continued
swimming. Initially leery of bicycling on streets, it took a woman to
change his mind.
“My wife died, and I fell in love with a beautiful woman who loved
biking. She talked me into bicycling on Jekyll Island, where there are
paths that are off the roads. She made a monster of me!” he says.
Frankenthaler added biking to his routine, and seven years ago entered
his first sprint triathlon—half-mile swim, 15-mile bike ride and
3.1-mile run. This year alone, he intends to participate in five sprint
triathlons, two bridge runs and at least six other runs. He is also on
the Georgia Master's swim team and will compete in the April Nationals
in Greensboro, N.C.
In September, Frankenthaler will compete in nine events in the Georgia
Golden Olympics with the hope of qualifying for the biannual National
Senior Olympics, to be held in July 2013. He has set his sights for qualifying
in all nine events, plus triathlons. Entry is based on qualifying one
year in advance.
To prepare, he maintains a strict exercise routine. Every day before he
starts work at his security company, he does 75 push-ups, 25 sit-ups,
warm-ups and 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. He bikes and runs once
a week. In good weather, he does pool laps. And, he expects the Health
System Bridge Run to be a piece of cake, but “you can't take
any athletic event for granted,” he cautions.
“I do it for fun, because I can beat a lot of 40-year-old runners,”
he says. “Seriously, most of my triathlons are run in hilly country,
and bridge events are great training for the hills of North Georgia. Lord
willing, my first goal in any event is to finish. My second goal is to
do better than last time.”
The Tenth Annual Southeast Georgia Health System Bridge Run and Runner’s
Expo is scheduled to take place Saturday, Feb. 18, at the foot of the
scenic Sidney Lanier Bridge on Highway 17 in Brunswick, Ga., and will
benefit the Health System’s cancer care programs. Tbe5k walk/run
will begin at 8 a.m. with the runners start. The Firefighter Challenge
will begin at 8:30 a.m. and all walkers will start across the bridge at
9 am. Runners and walkers can register at sghs.org or active.com. The
deadline for pre-registration is Feb. 12 and the cost is $25 per individual,
with a $2 discount per person for teams of 10 or more. A Pre-Run Pasta
Party and Runner’s Expo is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17, from 5-8
p.m. at Coastal Kitchen Grill & Raw Bar located at the Golden Isles
Marina on St. Simons Island. The cost of the party is $5 and each pre-registered
runner can pick up his or her bib number and T-shirt. For an official
entry form or more information, visit sghs.org or active.com or call 1-800-537-5142,