Marine vet makes stop in El Paso during coast-to-coast ‘ElliptiGO’ trek

Semper Fi Fund's Rick Hermelin in El Paso Ft Bliss Monitor
Rick Hermelin outside the Central Fire Station in downtown El Paso May 21. Photo by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario, 24th Press Camp Headquarters.

By Sgt. Sinthia Rosario at 24th Press Camp Headquarters | Fort Bliss Monitor | | May 31, 2012

A 71-year-old Marine Corps veteran on a coast-to-coast trek to benefit injured Marines and promote physical fitness arrived at the El Paso Central Fire Station on the morning of May 21.

The trek wasn’t via traditional means like cycling or running, however, but instead with the ElliptiGO.

The ElliptiGO is the first outdoor, low-impact, fitness device designed to emulate the running motion. It allows athletes of all levels to get a high-intensity workout without experiencing the repetitive impact of running.

Rick Hermelin began his 3,000-mile trek in Beaufort, S.C., March 23 and is expected to finish his journey June 30 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Having traveled for more than two months, Hermelin is roughly two-thirds through his voyage. The Semper Fi Fund that he is raising is at 50 percent and he is very pleased with the mission, he said.

Hermelin chose to start his journey March 23 because this was the date he first joined the Marine Corps in 1959. He served in the USMC from 1959 to 1963 as an aviation communications technician. He said it was his time in the Marine Corps that motivated him to make the journey.

Over the years, Hermelin has developed a passion for running.

“I ran my 100th marathon, 100th half marathon and 100th km races,” said Hermelin. “I needed to start a new challenge since I like to challenge myself. At one time I wanted to run across the United States, but I wasn’t sure if my body could handle that big of a distance.”

That’s when one of his clients suggested he try the ElliptiGO as an alternative. Hermelin then decided to run across the country on the ElliptiGO in 100 days to raise awareness about the benefits of being physically fit.

“I think it’s amazing: 100 days, a great cause, his history and making history – for me, that’s pretty impressive,” said Charles Lujan, a fire suppression technician with Central Fire Station. “He makes me want to join him.”

Lujan added that they were going to make him feel comfortable at the fire station, feed him, let him shower and rest, so Hermelin could be ready for the next day.

“So far it’s been very good, the support, the people that I’ve met along the way,” said Hermelin. “I’ve been hosted every single day that I’ve been on the road, but for the most part I’ve been staying at fire stations. They have really supported me and given me a place to stay, eat and recuperate. I really appreciate what they have done for me.”

To learn more and to follow Hermelin’s trek, visit his 100 Days for the Corps blog at

Link to article | Download PDF copy of article.