Runner overcomes surgery to race again

River Bank Run

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Many of the thousands of people signed up for the Amway River Bank Run have overcome some sort of obstacle, but few can say they recovered from a hip replacement just weeks ago. 

Bob Schuitema Jr. received a new hip for Christmas. He went into surgery Dec. 26, 2018, marking the end of pain he had been experiencing for more than a year.

“The surgery was inevitable, but I kept putting it off because fear, somewhat, and finally it reached a point where it felt like we have to do something,” he explained to 24 Hour News 8. 

The 2014 River Bank Run was the last time he ran a 5K. Shortly after the surgery, Schuitema decided May 11 would be the next time he raced to complete 3.1 miles. 

The 62-year-old spent the last 19 weeks or so training at the David D. Hunting YMCA in downtown Grand Rapids. He credits Dr. Kory Johnson, D.O., M.S. and the team at Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan for a smooth recovery process.

“I think it was just the setting of a goal as much as anything,” Schuitema said. “It was to not, certainly, reclaim lost youth, but maybe prolong it for a little while.”

Schuitema will run Saturday with his son and two nephews. As if completing the 5K isn’t enough, he’s aiming to finish in 25 minutes.

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