Gates heart patient runs 50th 5K

By on December 2, 2019

Gates heart patient, senior runner, and Veteran Bruce Rychwalski, 70, ran in his 50th 5K of the year on Sunday, November 17, at the R.I.T. Veterans Day 5K Run on the R.I.T. campus in Henrietta. Proceeds from the event benefited The Veterans Outreach Center of Rochester. 

Rychwalski served in the U.S. Air Force from June 1968 to June 1972, during which time he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Rychwalski set himself a goal of doing 50 5Ks in 2019 because 2019 was the year he turned 70. A member of the Greater Rochester Track Club (GRTC), he ran his first 5K race of 2019 on February 3, Mr Ed’s Superbowl Warm-up in Middleport, New York.

Since experiencing a life-threatening Ventricular Tachycardia, being shocked with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), being diagnosed with the genetic heart muscle disease Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC), and having implantation surgery for an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) in the Spring of 2011, and then having implantation surgery for a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Device (CRT) in the Winter of 2017, Rychwalski has run in and completed 370 5K races.

Rychwalski volunteers for the Rochester American Heart Association and formed and captained a team for the 2019 Rochester Heart Walk & Run at Frontier Field on April 6. His team, The Lionhearted, raised over $2,000 for the American Heart Association.

Rychwalski also started a running club in 2016, The Rochester Running Heroes. The club is for runners who manage a chronic, medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes or a spinal, neurological, gastroenterological or urological disorder while continuing to lead an active, athletic lifestyle. 

Rychwalski welcomes invitations to be a motivational speaker at schools, senior centers and other locations.

Provided information and photos

 Bruce Rychwalski (center) with the R.I.T. Air Force ROTC Color Guard.

Bruce Rychwalski (center) with the R.I.T. Air Force ROTC Color Guard.

Bruce Rychwalski with fellow Veterans.

Bruce Rychwalski with fellow Veterans.