Marine Corps Logistics Base ALBANY Ga. --
Rick Hermelin has taken it upon himself to bike 3,000 miles across country. The catch: He is 71 years old and is accomplishing the feat by traveling on an elliptical bicycle, an apparatus powered by a walk/run motion rather than pedaling.
The Brownsville, Texas, native says he is doing it for a good cause: raising donations for the Semper Fi Fund, a charity focused on helping wounded Marines and their families.
“I’m 71 years old and nothing hurts,” Hermelin said as he posed with his elliptical bicycle. “I’ve finished 100 marathons, 100 10Ks and 100 half marathons. I like round numbers so I figured I could make it cross country in 100 days.”
Hermelin’s odyssey started March 23 at Parris Island, S.C., and is scheduled to end in San Diego, Calif.
After months of planning and training, he plans on finishing his trip after spending an average of 24-hours a day on the road, staying at various locations at night and meeting new people.
He also points out the fact that he is one of a special few. Finishing 100 marathons places him in a very small group of people worldwide.
“If you add up everyone who has completed 100 marathons around the world, you’ll have fewer people than those who have climbed Mount Everest,” he added.
One of the only ways to verify Hermelin’s age is by looking at his driver’s license. He has the toned physique of a man decades younger and it’s apparent age hasn’t slowed him down. According to Hermelin, staying slim and in-shape is all about lifestyle. “Throughout my life, I have always varied my exercise regimen to work out my entire body,” he said. “I was doing cross fit before they called it cross fit.”
Hermelin, who served in the Marine Corps from 1959 to 1963, says his service as a Marine has always stayed with him.
“I was an aviation technician when I was in the Marine Corps,” He said. “I don’t know how it is now, but back then we were understaffed. This exposed me to so many different areas of electronics. This experience prepared me for the next 40 years of my life.”
Electronics work wasn’t Hermelin’s only profession. After tiring of this, he became a massage therapist for 20 years before eventually passing the business to someone else. “I believe being a massage therapist taught me a lot about human physiology which helps,” he added.
Hermelin wasn’t the only Marine in his family. He says his older brother served in the Corps before him while his other brothers served in the Army. His connection with others who have served in the Marines, prompted him to start his journey.
“I tried something before (running across the country) but it didn’t work out,” Hermelin said. “A friend of mine eventually put me touch with someone who works for the company (a manufacturer of elliptical bicycles) and he in turn put me in with one of the company’s co-founders. He knew that I wanted to do something cross country and he put me in touch with the Semper Fi Fund at Camp Pendleton, California. It all started from there.”
“Although I was only in the Marines for four years, it’s always stayed with me,” Hermelin said. “I figured I could travel across the country and do it for a great cause.”