Van Products is a corporate sponsor of the Lake Royale Triathlon held near Bunn, NC, and that’s how we learned of Jim Berndt’s story. When Jim recently entered the Lake Royale Triathlon, he was not really doing anything he had not successfully done before. Jim was a triathlon veteran from years back. In fact, he participated in triathlons for quite some time until 1988. He decided that was the year to retire from racing to spend more time with his family and at work.
Recently, Jim decided it was time to get back into the game…time for another triathlon. No better place than Lake Royale in North Carolina. He had family residing at the lake, a few familiar faces, and a great place to face the challenges of his first triathlon in 20 years.
But Jim was, and still is facing a much bigger challenge than swimming, biking and running. Jim was prepared to battle the hills of the Lake Royale Triathlon with a new challenge…Parkinson’s disease.
Jim mustered the courage, trained hard and had a very successful outing at Lake Royale in 2008 and again in 2010. Because of the disease, Jim has to train less than he might wish, but he takes advantage of the good days and dials it back on the tougher ones. Despite all of that, he’s back for another triathlon this year, participating as part of a team!
Jim’s Parkinson’s is at a mid-stage of progression and he takes medication to reduce the symptoms. Oddly enough, swimming and biking actually reduce the symptoms of his Parkinson’s…he says that running is his greatest challenge, though. When asked his opinion of the Lake Royale course, he replies, “God, that’s a hilly run course! It’s a tough running course.”
One part of the triathlon that many may take for granted is the transition area. For Jim, it is an extra challenge. The transition area requires fine motor skills, and Parkinson’s is not kind to fine motor skills, medication or not. He gets through it, anyway.
Jim’s sister told us, “He has never stopped being active or given up. It was remarkable to watch him in the Lake Royale Triathlon.”
Jim, we wish you good luck again at this Saturday’s event!
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