Hundreds Come Out for First Ever Healthy Human Race

Updated: 08/26/2014 11:42 AM
Created: 08/24/2014 7:41 PM
By: Hannah Tran

(ABC 6 News) -- On the downtown streets of Rochester, up a gruesome hill or two, and through the scenic trails that line the city came the sounds of thousands of feet from all over the Midwest.  

“It was really nice to run a race this size, we had a great turn out, so I was really happy with that,” said Dani Vsetecka.

Vsetecka was the first woman to finish the 1/2 marathon. The Healthy Human Race wasn’t just a celebration of Mayo Clinic’s 150th year of patient care. Vsetecka is also embracing what makes her a healthy human, like many other race participants.

“What it means to me is to be balanced, you know, or be a balanced person,” she said.

Ian Lanza, a Rochester resident who’s from New Hampshire, was the first to cross the finish line. The Healthy Human Race is among a handful of marathons successfully completed by Lanza.

“I think it’s basic lifestyle choices, you know, obviously running is a big part of my lifestyle,” said Lanza. 

For a small handful of marathoners, a healthy lifestyle came after his or her ability to run was taken away. Vance Gerkovich injured his spinal cord, which bound him to a wheel chair.

“I was thrown out of a pickup truck,” explained Gerkovich. He was driving a pickup truck in Florida when he swerved around several children playing outside and flew out of his vehicle.

Gerkovich can stand in place, but he’s unable to walk.  However, his health is only improving.  He said proudly that he’s in better shape than he was before the accident.

“I started riding the cycle and it just seemed like some of the pounds started melting off,” said Gerkovich.

The cheers of the crowd were the fuel for some runners, but it was their own individual choices that gave them the confidence to call themselves healthy humans that ran for Mayo Clinic’s signature marathon.