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Someone I wish to have known: Ron Gehring

As you may or may now know, I took up running on a cold February morning in 2003. The first “run” wasn’t a run at all. It was a slow walk-jog-walk sequence over the course of 30 minutes and 1.7 miles. I was in no shape to run. Eventually, my body adapted and I was able to complete the Baltimore Marathon in 2005.

It’s been a while since then, and I’m desperately trying to get back.

It is that “desperation” that made this blog post about a man named Ron Gehring hit me like a ton of bricks. Ron died as a result of an accident a few days ago, and the running community is mourning him. Here is a nice post from an iron woman in training about him and what he meant to her.

His death hit me like a ton of bricks because I know that life is very delicate and I shouldn’t be taking it for granted. I shouldn’t be sitting on a couch when I can be out there enjoying the weather (freezing cold as it may be) with my dog and my legs. I should be filling my lungs full of air and racing my heart to the finish line. I shouldn’t be collecting more fat, or my exit from this world will be from sooner than it should be.

It hit me in the gut to know that he had so many friends and family that loved him so much and admired his athletic accomplishments. I mean, look at his RunKeeper profile. Holy crap! He put in so many miles, enjoyed his God-given body so much. I’m sad that he had to die. Absent that accident, the odds are he would have lived a very, very, very long time.

So, in his memory, I promise to get up and move, get out there and move, and do my best to get back to that Ren that crazily and with little preparation ran a marathon in 2005… That I be missed for my accomplishments 60 years from now and not 20.

Vaya con Dios, Ron. I wish I would have met you.


If you can find it in your heart to donate a couple of bucks toward Ron’s family, here’s a webpage where you can do so.

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René F. Najera, DrPH

I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
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2 replies

    1. Likewise, thank you for sharing your story about Ron. The more I’ve read about him, the more inspired I’ve been. I’m not going out and running a full marathon this weekend, of course. But I will definitely be more active and remember how precious life is.


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