David Balsley - ASPIRE
By Steve Matsuda
David Balsley, 60 of New York, NY, has been running ultramarathons since he completed the 1982 Western States 100. He’s run 100,000 miles in his life. He wants the 2007 Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon to be his last ultra.
Balsley plans to stop running ultras at age 60 and wants to finish with the toughest one. Living in New York has made it tough to train in the heat, but he says he’s been mowing the lawn wearing three layers of clothing… running. He’s also limited his Central Park training runs to only the part of the park where it’s sunny. And, of course, he’s done the almost mandatory six weeks of sauna training.
Balsley is a Physical Therapist who worked in a Veterans Administration hospital while in graduate school. There he worked with amputees from the Vietnam War and started as an amputee track coach. He started ASPIRE Athletic Sports Program Involving Recreation and Exercise with Patty Rossbach, the Director of the Amputee Coalition of America. Balsley and Rossbach worked together earlier when they trained kids who had lost legs, originally because of cancer, then eventually for other reasons.
One of the kids that Balsley trained is Sarah Reinertsen, who became an elite athlete who became the first female with a leg amputation to complete Ironman Hawaii in 2005. She also competed in the Amazing Race and won an ESPY award in 2006. Balsley taught Sarah how to run on her first prosthesis 20 years ago. Sarah competed in the New York City triathlon on Sunday and was scheduled to fly into Las Vegas on Monday morning, rent a car and drive out to Death Valley to meet Balsley out on the course to crew and pace.
Click here for the intervirew with Sarah during the race.
Click here for a video about Balsley's training program, originally appearing in the New York Times.
Click here for a New York Times article about Balsley's training program.