Greg Seaton fundraiser

What: Fundraiser for Greg Seaton competing at world championships.

When: Noon-1 p.m. March 17.

Where: Redmond Athletic Club, 1717 NE 2nd Street.

Includes: St. Patrick’s Day theme (anyone who doesn’t wear green has to do 100 “burpees”). Two-person tag teams will do spin bikes and run, with the top three teams winning prizes. Also includes a drawing for prizes. Snacks are provided.

Cost: Suggested donation of $20 per team.

Being old enough to qualify for Medicare isn’t slowing a Terrebonne athlete down.

As he heads into an international running and biking competition, Greg Seaton, who turned 65 on Feb. 13, compares himself to a Nash car from the year he was born.

“I think of myself as a ‘54 Rambler that God is driving,” Seaton said. “That way I can go to a race like nationals and be completely calm before the race. I can be completely relaxed when others are nervous, but when the gun goes off, it brings the competitor out in me.”

Seaton overcame years of alcohol and drug abuse to become a top competitor in his age group in triathlons and duathlons. His 10th-place performance in the his age group in last year’s draft legal sprint duathlon in Greenville, S.C., qualified Seaton for this year’s world championships in April in Pontevedra, Spain.

It was Seaton’s third time competing at the national races and his best finish.

He wants to show others that anyone can do this.

“I want to inspire others to get into exercising,” he said. “‘Cause I’m just an average guy, a lot of it’s being fit, but a lot of it’s mindset...I’m just trying to inspire everybody to work out, from 2 years old to 95 years old.”

Overcoming obstacles

Seaton’s story isn’t average.

Seaton has gone through a lot to get to this point. In 2015, he ran the local Run 4 Recovery race and won his age group in the first time he’d run competitively since junior college. That lead him to enter running and sprint triathlon events until he eventually qualified for nationals.

Seaton’s 2015 victory came less than a year after a July 2014 car crash — his fourth rollover wreck, while driving to his twin granddaughters’ birthday party. His family convinced him to move to Crooked River Ranch in 2013 to try to get him to deal with binge drinking, but the crash was what finally got him to do it.

Seaton also overcame an addiction to painkillers, which started when he was recovering from knee surgery while working as a plumbing contractor in 1994 in Simi Valley, California, when the Northridge earthquake hit. The tremors caused a television to fall and land on his elevated right knee, ripping open his stitches and breaking his kneecap.

That led to five knee surgeries and addiction. Seaton also battled bone cancer and has undergone neck surgeries.

Now Seaton will be wearing a Team USA uniform when he walks into competition April 27 at the Multisport World Championships.

“They treat it like the Olympics,” Seaton said. “We have to purchase a parade kit.”

He has another injury to overcome. Seaton is recovering from recent shoulder surgery. He said he injured himself doing “double jack” push-ups two years ago but doesn’t expect the injury to be an issue in competition.

“It’s doing really well,” he said. “At this point, today, I’m fine.”

Representing Central Oregon

Seaton hopes to represent the area well.

“I’m trying to keep Central Oregon on the map, because there’s a lot of great athletes,” he said. “I don’t consider myself a great athlete, but Central Oregon has a lot.”

With the high Central Oregon elevation, Seaton sees himself having an advantage racing at sea level. The Spanish climate is also nice.

“The only hindrance would be if it rained, but it did in South Carolina at the nationals and it really didn’t bother me,” he said.

The world championships feature numerous events. Seaton’s requires competitors to run five kilometers, then bike 20 kilometers, before a final 2.5-K run.

Seaton will help pay for his trip with money raised at a March 17 fundraiser at Redmond Athletic Club. The event mixes exercise with St. Patrick’s Day fun.

Seaton plans to spend a couple weeks overseas. He will go relax at the beach and take bike trips within a 100-mile radius.

“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is getting on my bike and traveling around and seeing the scenery,” he said.

Along with taking several classes each week, Seaton recently started teaching 5 a.m. “boot camp” classes at the athletic club. The classes draw between 11 and 26 people.

“I try to make the workout fun,” Seaton said. “It’s only 30 minutes, but it’s super intense.”

The workout serves many people who have to get their exercise in before work, Seaton said.

“I love it when they’re smiling and working out or laughing and working out, but they’re hurting,” Seaton said. “Their muscles hurt, not their joints.”

He also regularly makes 20-mile round trip bike rides, including riding up the Cascade Lakes Highway from Bend to Mt. Bachelor.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot more confidence in myself, high self esteem — what I consider good, positive health,” he said. “With the endorphin kick, I feel great all the time, and it feels good to give back, like when I’m teaching.”

Sherry Elliott, a longtime instructor at the athletic club, said Seaton is always enthusiastic.

“Knowing his background and his injuries, he is inspiring everybody he meets to go where they can go,” Elliott said. “He is an inspiration to me, overcoming adversity most of us can never know.”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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