by Libby James
Thirteen miles is a long way to run. A little help and distraction along the way is always welcome.
Local runners often turn to Brad Ott, physical therapist and owner of Rebound Sports and Physical Therapy to get help dealing with an injury or to keep themselves in top running shape. In three half-marathons during the last couple of years, they are likely to see him participating in a half pushing an enhanced baby jogger loaded with goo, gels, water, gummi bears and squirt guns, and waving, smiling and encouraging runners to hang in there and do their best, especially during the final moments of the race.
Rebound sponsors several local running races each year, the organization’s way of supporting an active lifestyle. They also offer post-race massages, have a physical therapist on hand to answer questions at races and work to educate runners about injury prevention by offering a dynamic warm-up before the start. “Rather than putting our names on a shirt or race flyer, we like to be at races and interact with runners,” Ott said.
Ott runs regularly and is always in good enough shape to run 13 miles but isn’t a competitive racer. “My race strategy is ‘start slow and fade,’ he says. When Green Events race director Lisa Sinclair hassled him for not signing up for a 2018 half-marathon, Ott decided to jump into the race with the goal having fun and assisting runners on the course. He added sidewalls to a baby jogger and adorned it with signs and flags reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream cart and off he went. He left his watch at home.
He has done three half-marathons with his Rebound Rescue Runner cart, providing vocal support, nutrition, hydration, and a few laughs. He offers goodies to volunteers, fans, police, and kids cheering on their parents. He has heard some memorable comments during these races:
“Got any beer in there?”
“I don’t need anything to eat, but would love a ride for a mile or two.”
“Any cinnamon rolls or maybe pizza?”
“Unless you have whiskey, I don’t think anything will help.”
“The Rebound Rescue Runner has become a great way to interact with people,” Ott said. “I’m going to keep it going.”