No matter the outcome of the annual Reading Hospital Road Run, Bob Myers always feels like a winner. The annual T-shirt provided to participants has become his trophy, and he has saved each one since he began participating in the fundraiser in 1980s.
Now, at age 76, he is participating in the 2023 Reading Hospital Road Run on Sunday, October 15 and is looking forward to adding a 26th T-shirt to his collection. “It’s inspiring to me,” said Myers, who worked at the hospital for 25 years and was the hospital’s Vice President of Human Resources for 15 years. “I consider myself to be in pretty good shape for my age, and I want to continue to live a long productive life. I think running has helped me do that thus far.”
Reading Hospital Road Run includes both a Half Marathon and 5K events that are chip-timed and cover a variety of rolling terrains in neighborhoods and local parks surrounding Reading Hospital. The 5K event is open to individuals of all experience levels.
Proceeds from the run will be used to support the McGlinn Cancer Institute Patient Assistance Fund, which provides financial relief with non-medical expenses to cancer patients in need who are undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment at the institute. To register or to donate to Reading Hospital’s McGlinn Cancer Institute Patient Assistance Fund, please visit RHRoadRun.com.
“I am thrilled Bob continues to support our team and community,” said Charles F. Barbera, MD, Reading Hospital president and CEO. “He joins us each year for the Reading Hospital Road Run. “He’s helping us ensure this fundraiser is a success. He is an inspiration to all of us and is a reminder that age is just a number. I look forward to running with him in October.”
Ironically, Myers wasn’t always a long-distance runner and said he turned down the chance to participate in it when he ran track in high school. A coach tried to convince him to run the mile because of his height and long legs. “I found it to be too strenuous and exhausting,” he said. In the late 1970s he started running because he thought it would be a great way to stop smoking cigarettes. It worked. “I haven’t smoked since because I didn’t want to undo all of the benefits of running by continuing to smoke.”
Myers has a group of friends he has run with for many years. “We joke that we don’t really run anymore, we shuffle now,” he said. “We started running 5Ks, then signed up for some 10Ks. Before we knew it we were hooked and had graduated to half marathons. We decided we would do one marathon together, and we did.”
Myers considers the Reading Hospital Road Run as the premier run in in Berks County. He encourages runners of all levels to participate in the event because, in his opinion, runners are among the most supportive group of athletes. On the course you will hear participants sharing stories, tips for improvement, and most importantly, words of encouragement and inspiration to motivate others, he said.
“It’s a great route and so scenic. There are a lot of runners and the camaraderie on the course is unmatched. It’s a terrific event,” he said. “When I get out on the course, I know there are runners older than me who are faster than me but I’m not racing them. We’re all in it together. Crossing the finish line is euphoric every time. Runners’ high is a very real feeling.”