Bike Trek to Shakertown exercises lungs to beat lung disease - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Bike Trek to Shakertown exercises lungs to beat lung disease

John Boel and David Runge (Source: Jeff Knight/WAVE 3 News) John Boel and David Runge (Source: Jeff Knight/WAVE 3 News)
David Runge (Source: Jeff Knight/WAVE 3 News) David Runge (Source: Jeff Knight/WAVE 3 News)
John Boel and David Runge posed for a picture at the end of their bike ride. (Source: WAVE 3 News) John Boel and David Runge posed for a picture at the end of their bike ride. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Kentucky’s 30 percent smoking rate is tops in the nation. Fortunately, Kentucky also has a high rate of bicycles and beauty.

“Kentucky's beauty is accessible, subtle, not something where you stand behind a fence and wait for clouds to part so you can see the canyon,” said David Runge, pedaling fast on his bike next to me in Cherokee Park.

To get an interview with 71-year-old Runge, you have to keep up with him. He helped design the Bike Trek to Shakertown course, and he has biked all 28 Bike Trek to Shakertown events since.

“How'd you come up with the course, why Shakertown,” I asked.

“Well, Shakertown was the hook, one of the really legit, wonderful things about Kentucky,” Runge said.

The money raised on the Bike Trek benefits the American Lung Association. David and I know something about loss from lung disease: my mother, his father.

“He had a couple heart attacks when he was in his mid 40s,” Runge said, “They told him to stop smoking. He did, but it already did enough damage."

“What was it like watching him pass like that?” I asked.

“He was a strong guy, was always my dad. Not like a father. He was my dad. We did things like fishing, camping, then he couldn't climb stairs. Then he would cough a lot. Your dad shouldn't do that,” Runge said.

"I watched my mom pass away, suffer so badly from COPD,” I told Runge. “I had asthma as a kid, didn't give two thoughts about lung disease.”

“What we do to ourselves, whether it’s an act of vanity or social pressure, it bites you so big," said Runge. "It actually took courage to stop smoking on my dad's part."

And it takes courage to raise money plus pedal 30 to 65 miles each day of the Trek.

“What gives you the most satisfaction out of the course you've designed?" I asked.

“That it is really attractive, really backwoods Kentucky," Runge answered. "You can't just go on Highway 60 or 42 and see anywhere what we see, little towns, mom and pop stores."

For the moms and pops we've lost, and the ones we can still save, the Bike Trek to Shakertown takes off September 13. Anyone interested in participating should visit BikeTrektoShakertown.org.

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