Dick Camp puts faith in track as well as M-Infinity Guy Upstairs

Dick Camp, a world-class M75 sprinter, has Parkinson’s disease, he informs. “I am not taking medications for PD,” he says. “My wife is filling me with brain food like kale, cabbage, etc., and good supplements.  I also believe that wind sprints and sprinting produce dopamine in the brain, giving me reason to train more vociferously for health reasons.” But he still runs — even amid miseries beyond Parkinson’s. He shared a note with friends after racing at Penn. He graciously allowed me to reprint it here. You’ll see why his other name is the Rev. Dr. Richard P. Camp Jr.

Dick is second from the left in this M70 100 final at 2008 Spokane nationals.

Dick writes:

Most of you know I sign my emails with “run to win,” a portion of a Bible verse from I Corinthians 9:24-27. This whole passage is a motivating factor for me, especially as written in The Message translation.
Last Saturday I had the honor of being invited to compete in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Nine sprinters, age 75 and above, ran the 100 meter dash in an afternoon featuring The Championship of America. All the other Masters sprints came on Friday, but they featured the old guys on Saturday. So our warm-up/s were with the famous sprinters I knew from among the best in the USA. The stands were filled with more than 30,000 fans.
A week prior to the race, I was at our local high school stadium for a ‘run-through’ at the same time the race would be in Philadelphia a week later. I had done some warm-ups and was stretching my hamstrings on a hurdle. I lost my balance and the hurdle knocked me down and I hit my head on the track.

Unknown to me at the moment was the fact that my right leg had landed in a nest of fire ants. My head became a bit cloudy and I grabbed my spikes and headed back to the car. I drove about a mile and realized that I was disoriented and lost, and learned later that I was suffering from anaphylactic shock. I pulled into a McDonald’s and called my daughter Kris, who lived close to where I was at the time.

Within minutes both Tom and Kris were there and Tom quickly drove to a local Clinic where I was given an injection of Benedryl, put into an ambulance and transported to the Charlotte Trauma Center downtown. They hooked me up to IVs, took a brain scan, blood and urine tests,EKG and a chest X-ray.

Several hours later I was in Virjean’s care and heading home for the night. The attending physician prescribed Prednisone to help remove the toxins from more than 100 Ant stings. Obviously my training was considerably abbreviated all last week. I knew that preparation for this kind of competition began months ago and that I would not get any faster or stronger just prior to the competition.
One of the side effects of Prednisone is unusually high blood pressure, also nervousness, sleeplessness, and a few other irritants that don’t contribute to well-being. My blood pressure was unusually high on the morning of the race and I knew the warm-ups would take it down a bit..
I remember the commands “Take your mark, get set” and the gun. The rest was automatic pilot. I did not have the mental control of the race that is important to a sprinter. I finished fourth behind a winning time of 13.7.
Should I have run? Probably not. Could I pass up this unique opportunity in Track and Field? Obviously not. The lasting lesson for me is the importance of preparation. We form the habits and skills in our day to day work, our practice and preparation.

God is always there building something special in each of us, ready to use what we offer to Him at the right time and place. That’s why I am so fond of St Paul’s guidance in I Corinthians 9:24-27. That’s why I want to ‘run to win’!

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May 7, 2012

4 Responses

  1. Ruthlyn Greenfield-Webster, RN - May 7, 2012

    Thank you for the following sentence in that last paragraph…”God is always there building something special in each of us, ready to use what we offer to Him at the right time and place”!! So true. And I for one needed that reminder today. God Bless you Dick. And may he keep you and yours strong as you battle PD.

  2. Roger Pierce - May 7, 2012

    Dick Camp is my friend and team mate over many years. Since he moved to Florida a few years ago I have not had much contact with him aside from a small number of track meets.
    Dick, you are a wonderful friend and competitor, and I had no clue about your PD. Knowing you, I feel it won’t slow you down. You have always been a gentle warrior on the track, never in anyone’s face, yet always a fierce competitor.
    My heart goes out to you my friend along with my prayers. Stay strong and fast and “never say die”.
    Hope to see you on the track this summer. God Bless You.

  3. Ron Nydam - May 8, 2012

    Dick Camp…you are the MAN! It has always been a delight to see you set the goal high…an insirationn for all of us! I hop the Parkinson’s news doesn’t slow you down much…our best to you and Virjean, Ron and Sugar

  4. Bill Bittner - May 19, 2012

    Hi Dick! Just thought I would let you know how much I enjoyed the time we spent together before our race at the Penn Relays where you shared your recent experience with me. Missed you at the Southeastern Championships. Take care, God bless ,see you down the road.

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