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Edmondson back in the game

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Lee Edmondson’s brother, Bruce, put it best.”I wonder what I’d do if I were in his shoes,” he pondered.It’s impossible to know how one would react to the cards dealt to Lee Edmondson. The best of us could only hope to show half the determination and vigor displayed by the 60-year-old Edmondson, who two years ago suffered a second stroke that robbed him of the use of everything but his right hand and the ability to nod his head up and down.But Edmondson wasn’t ready to put his active lifestyle – he could often be found doing marathons or triathlons among myriad other outdoor activities – in the rear view.

On Sunday, with a gallery of inspired onlookers cheering raucously, Edmondson jump-started a second racing career. Using that right hand to motor his electric wheelchair, and tooled with no doubt the same competitive glare he flashed in his athletic heyday, Edmondson took center stage at the eighth annual Mother’s Day Mile.Well wishers lined up to deliver praise en masse after the Glen Valley Nursing Home resident rolled through the finish line, where he collected his post-race rose. And Edmondson was far from alone in his return to competition. As he navigated the men and women 40-and-over race’s final turn, which led into the parking lot at Glenwood Medical Associates – the Mother’s Day Mile’s start and finish point – he had quite the entourage in tow. There was Michelle Lefebvre, a triathlete and assistant who spends time with residents in 10 nursing homes throughout Garfield County. She had been helping Edmondson train for the Mother’s Day Mile, and will help him train for future races in the area.Then there was his brother, Bruce, who manned a bike during the stretch run.

And Lee’s niece, Mel, her husband, Monte, and their 4-year-old daughter, Hunter, also trailed Edmondson closely. “We are proud,” Bruce said of his younger brother. “He’s always been a competitor. Well, I think the best way to express it is that he hasn’t given up.””A lot of people would just give up,” Mel added.Sunday reminded Bruce of the years passed. “It’s kind of like the old days,” he said. “We used to run in Hawaii all the time. He was a real serious athlete. I remember right before the second stroke, we were in St. George, Utah, and he and I ran three miles.”



And, for the one who now regularly runs alongside Lee Edmondson, the hours spent preparing for Sunday’s race proved well worth it.”I definitely think so,” Lefebvre said. She then turned to Lee and asked, “What do you think? All the training paid off well?”A glowing Edmondson fired back with an enthusiastic nod.Proof that the human spirit, no matter how battered, is legitimately indestructible.”It’s truly inspirational,” Lefebvre said. Added Mel: “Especially for the rest of us old slugs out there going, ‘I can’t even keep up.'”


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