Greg says that Ironheart Foundation is a family and feels like home.

My brother passed away Mother’s Day morning from heart failure. He was 32 years old.  My father, in spite of running over 50 marathons after the age of 40, joined the zipper club when he underwent quadruple bypass surgery. This was after a short run.

After losing my brother and watching my father; you’d think the wakeup call would have come sooner for me.  Nonetheless, at the age of 47, I found myself weighing in at 240 pounds and in the fast lane for death.  My stats weren’t pretty; blood pressure was 165/110, resting heart rate was 80, total cholesterol was 270, LDL was 180, and my triglycerides topped out at 245. I was a breath away from a stroke or massive heart attack.

Beginning by walking around the block, I graduated to walking to the end of our neighborhood.  The first couple of months were the hardest, as I struggled catching my breath, let alone put together 1 mile.  After two months of walking 1-2 miles day, I finally broke into a jog and would switch between walking and jogging.  I also started to extend my distance.  The weight slowly started to melt.

Within six months, my weight dropped to 165 pounds, as my “jogs” turned into a daily 9 mile run.  I racked up 700 miles running my first year! Following a 70 pound weight loss, my total cholesterol dropped to 120, my LDL to 70, my triglycerides to 90, my average resting heart rate is now 42, and my blood pressure averages 110/60.

Now 54 years old, I enjoy hiking and running my wife Sue.   We have since logged over 4,344 miles since.  There is a sense of urgency in my runs.  As long as my body continues to hold it together, I’ll continue to run.  Running has provided balance in my life as well instilling a sense of empowerment, movement and change.

I met Dave Watkins at the Ironheart Classic 8-Mile Run in Redmond, Washington.  It was surreal moment, as I’d never met this man before. Yet, I knew Ironheart was where I needed to be. In fact, I remember telling Dave at the time, “Ironheart feels like home.”  The Ironheart family has touched me in so many ways both intangible and tangible.  I am honored and humbled to be considered part of this family.

Working with Ironheart has allowed my inner starving artist to creatively tell our story as a volunteer. Hopefully, this will make a difference in small world.

– Greg Bateman, Redmond, Washington