Grace’s courage, sense of humor getting him through latest adversity

Hasn’t life thrown enough curveballs at Greg Grace?

Or perhaps beanballs is a better way to put it.

But you know what? Every time the Washington Crossing resident with the eye-opening running resume gets knocked down, he gets right back up.

Which is why many of the past Bucks County Roadrunners Club president’s friends know he will soon return to his mobile, entertaining self again.

Grace has been dealing with the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease for a decade and now another hurdle has come along.

He recently fell and broke his hip, sending him to the hospital for surgery and triggering the start of a long rehabilitation process.

A lesser man might be tempted to give up and accept his fate.

Not Grace.

With the help of his wife, Emily, the rest of his family and physical therapists, Grace is well on the road to recovery.

His BCRR pals continue to admire his strength and never-quit attitude.

“Greg has been such an inspiration to those of us in BCRR,’’ says club veteran Mike Gross. “While battling Parkinson’s he’s continued to run for so long.

“Pushing through six-hour marathons with grit and determination that I have never seen before all the while never complaining.  He amazes me.’’

For many years, the Grace family has hosted a post-Revolutionary Run party on July 4 and that’s just part of the way Greg has connected with the local running community.

“Greg is the reason I joined BCRR,’’ says Pete Lederer, a Boston Marathon veteran and sub-three-hour achiever of the 26.2-mile test. “I kept seeing the same really tall guy at every race I went to and when I even saw him in Boston I decided to finally talk to him. He could not have been more gracious and welcoming.

“What also amazes me is that even through all of the adversity he has faced he still has the same Greg Grace ‘dad joke’ sense of humor.’’

Past BCRR Winter Series director Janet Lewis also appreciates the way Grace still takes the whole thing with a twinkle in his eye.

“There is so much I love about Greg,’’ Lewis says. “I didn’t know Greg in his ‘prime’ running days, but I have never seen him give up. He has slowed and struggled and there were days that I worried about him out on whatever course, but he is nothing if not a fighter!

“Even when he couldn’t run, he was there to support others. And through it all, he never lost his sense of humor. A twisted sense of humor, but man, it’s still there. And I love it.

“He struggles with his speech, but if you truly listen, it’s there and I always walk away with a smile. Outside of running, Greg and Emily have always been wonderful friends and supporters of the running community. I know Greg will get through this with the strength of his own will, but also the strength of Emily there by his side.’’

Initially, Grace was taken to Doylestown Hospital for surgery, then moved to Moss Rehabilition. Currently he is receiving treatment at the Richboro Rehab Center on Twining Ford Road in Richboro.

Emily has been constantly by his side throughout the trying years, so she is well prepared for anything that comes along.

“Greg has been working very hard in physical and occupational therapy,’’ she says. “He’s making steady progress. We’ve received well wishes and visits from a number of people and we greatly appreciate everyone’s support and caring.’’

And like everyone else, she’s aware of his ever-present irreverence.

“Slowly but surely,’’ she says, “the staff here are discovering Greg’s unique sense of humor.’’

Well-wishers can contact Greg either through their own Facebook page, through the Bucks County Roadrunners Club’s Facebook page or through Greg’s Facebook page.

And let us add our own message here: Get back on the road to your old self soon, Greg, and keep us all smiling.

Race calendar

Saturday

Chalfont Challenge, 8:30 a.m., Chalfont. Contact www.bucks5kseries.com

Sunday

Run the Gates 5-Miler, 9 a.m., Levittown. Contact www.runthegates.org

 

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 419 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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