By Christine Steele | Sun-News | Scsun-news.com | May 28, 2012
Marine Vet riding coast-to-coast raising money for injured Marine veterans makes stop in Silver City
Goal of $10,000 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
SILVER CITY A 71-year-old Marine veteran riding coast-to-coast on an elliptical bike made a stop in Silver City this weekend and was hosted by the Silver City Fire Department and the Tyrone Fire Department before heading off the final leg of his journey.
Rick Hermelin is riding across the U.S. on my ElliptiGO, trying to raise at least $10,000 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, which provides support for injured and critically ill members of the Armed Forces and their families. He is documenting the ride and his adventures, on his blog: 100 days for the Corps (http://100daysforthecorps.wordpress.com) and on his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/100-Days-for-the-Corps From his blog, Hermelin writes:
Over a period of 35 years, from August 1976 to June 2011, I completed 100 marathons, 100 half-marathons, and 100 10k s. When I completed these milestones, I started looking for a new goal and came up with the idea of running coast to coast.
He said it is something he has thought about many times and have always wanted to do, but, at 71 years old, he was worried about my body being able to handle the trek.
That s when a one of Hermelin s massage therapy clients suggested he try the ElliptiGO, an elliptical bicycle, and the rest is history, he wrote. By doing the run on an ElliptiGO, he said he would be able to make the trek without the impact of regular running and would be able to complete the journey within 100 days keeping with his theme
He got in touch with ElliptiGO, which is based in Solana Beach, Calif., and whose co-founder, Bryan Pate, is also a former Marine, and told him about his goal. The company had one at one at his doorstep end of June 2011 and he started training on it.
I trained on it for eight and half months - until mid march this year and then I flew from San Diego to Charlestown, S.C., on March 20 and began in Beaufort South Carolina, on the morning of March 23, 2012 and started from there.
That day also marked Hermelin s first day in the Marine Corps in 1959.
He left from a Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in Beaufort, South Carolina his destination: a Marine Corps Depot in San Diego, Calif. His fourth day on the road, he met a fire captain while having breakfast at a Huddle House in Hazelhurst, Ga. The captain inquired about Hermelin s trip and where he was staying. He told him he didn t know.
He said, let me call the chief and see if we can put you up, and that began a relationship with fire departments across the country, from South Carolina to New Mexico and hopefully on to California.
This is my 67th day, he said via telephone interview from Lordsburg, and 35 or 36 of those I have been hosted by fire departments. Sometimes that chain has been broken but I ve been hosted every single day.
A fire captain in Slidell, La., met him at the fire station there and has helped out along the way, helping him make connections across the country. He rides an average of 31-32 miles a day, which can take two to four hours or more, depending on terrain, and wind. His longest ride so far has been a 65 mile day in Texas.
He arrived in Silver City on Saturday after a 52 1/2-mile ride from Deming just in time to catch some of the Blues Fest.
When I first arrived all the fireman were there at the festival. I met them there at their booth and we walked the elliptical over to the fire station. I got settled in and took a shower and then took in some of the music at the festival. Even though they were very busy with the festival, they still made time to accommodate me and were very good hosts and I was able to enjoy some of the good music.
Hermelin left Silver City Sunday morning and had a relatively easy ride just five miles down the road to Tyrone, where he met Tyrone Fire Chief Ellen Harris, who put him up for the night at her guest house, down south of Tyrone. He spent Sunday night as her guest, visiting with members of the Tyrone Fire Department, before heading off to ride the 26 miles from there to Lordsburg.
His next stop is Duncan, Ariz., and he expects to arrive at his destination on June 30 100 days after beginning his journey. He said throughout the entire trip he has had no soreness, unlike if he had run the journey.
What awaits him when he completes the journey is yet to be discovered.
For this I got rid of 95 percent of all my possessions, he said. I have the remaining five percent in storage in Solana Beach and post office box there. Officially, I m homeless. People ask me what s next and it s the next chapter and the pages are blank right now. I ll write them in when I get to it. This gives complete freedom to choose any destination any path.
If you would like to make a donation to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, you can go to Hermelin s blog at:
Follow the trail
Rick Hermelin is documenting his ride and his adventures, on his blog: 100 days for the Corps at http://100daysforthecorps.wordpress.com; and on his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/100-Days-for-the-Corps
If you would like to make a donation to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, visit Hermelin s blog.