Ricard runs ‘miracle’ marathon

Of the 12,715 runners who took part in the Manitoba Marathon two weekends ago, it is extremely unlikely that anyone had a more remarkable run than Fort Frances resident Lorne Ricard.
Ricard’s performance that weekend can only be described as amazing.
His time of 3:03:29 in the full marathon, a grueling 26.3-mile race, was good enough for 17th place overall in a field of 823 competitors—quite an accomplishment in its own right.
The story becomes more compelling when Ricard’s age is taken into account. At 51 years old, he was among the oldest runners competing in the event.
However, what truly sets Ricard apart from the other competitors is the fact the Manitoba race was the veteran runner’s first marathon since having hip replacement surgery three years ago.
As he neared the finish line in Manitoba, Ricard couldn’t help but reflect on what he was about to accomplish through hard work and dedication.
“It was like a miracle to ever run again,” he recalled thinking at the time. “I always knew I could walk one or take five hours and do one, but I wouldn’t do it that way.
“If I’m going to run it, I’m going to run it hard.”
Ricard has been running hard for almost 20 years. What originally was an effort to get in shape and lose weight quickly grew into a passion.
He began competing in short-distance races, but it wasn’t long before Ricard was trying his hand at marathon running.
And he was hooked. In a 10-year span, he competed in 25 full marathons, including ones in New York, Chicago, and the 100th anniversary of the world famous Boston Marathon.
Shortly thereafter, he began experiencing pain in his hip.
As the pain increased, Ricard decided to seek medical attention. Upon consulting with his physician, it was determined he suffered from a degenerative hip condition and would require a replacement.
Ricard feared the operation meant he no longer would be able to partake in the sport he’d come to love.
“I thought I’d never run again,” he recalled thinking upon hearing the news.
However, Ricard’s concerns were quickly eliminated by his doctor.
“My doctor, he’s a runner, too. He said you’re going to feel good enough to run,” Ricard remarked. “[That] it’s going to be up to you.”
Almost three years passed from the onset of the pain in his hip to the actual day of the surgery.
The roughly three-hour procedure involved removing a piece of bone from the hip joint and replacing it with a new ceramic joint. The doctor then inserted an eight-inch titanium rod into the good bone and attached it to the ceramic joint.
The surgery was deemed a success, and for the first time in a long time Ricard was not in constant pain.
“It was instant relief from what I was going through with the sore hip,” he said.
But while the constant pain was alleviated, the recovery process was both long and slow.
Ricard was not permitted to do anything in the six weeks immediately following the surgery and was off work at the local mill for the better part of six months.
Once the hip had recovered sufficiently, his doctor permitted him to begin walking and riding a bike for exercise.
With each hurdle he cleared during his recovery, Ricard became more confident that he would one day run again.
Finally, the day came when Ricard’s doctor gave him the permission to resume running. And while he had some initial concerns about the effect running may have on his surgically-repaired hip, Ricard decided to give it another try.
“I said what the heck?” Ricard recalled thinking.
“I could sit on the couch for 20 years and say, ‘Gee, I should have tried it,’ or I could try it out and if I wear it out, he’ll [my doctor] put in a new one.”
Ricard began running again with a goal of one day competing in a marathon again.
It took nearly three years from the date of the surgery but Ricard finally realized his dream running in the Manitoba Marathon last month—a race that held special meaning for him.
“It was six years since I ran my last marathon,” he noted. “It’s kind of like an anniversary back. Winnipeg was the first one I ever ran.”
The success Ricard enjoyed in Manitoba only has served to fuel his passion for running.
“I like the high of finishing the races and the people you meet all the time,” he said. “And I like it because you’re not competing against anybody except the clock.
“You just run for your personal time.”
Ricard can be found running around town twice daily as he trains for several upcoming marathons this fall.