Bellin Run Legend Profile: George Wiesner
April 7, 2022
As part of our push to gather participation stats for our new Bellin Run Faithful recognition program, we are highlighting our longest-running participants — our Bellin Run Legends! Legends are the 20 individuals who have participated in every single Bellin Run since the event’s inception in 1977 — that’s 45 years and counting. We will continue to share the profiles and memories of our Legends on our Bellin Run blog and via social media. Next on our list is George Wiesner! Here are some highlights of our conversation with George …
George Wiesner clearly remembers his favorite Bellin Run — and it might not be what you think. Asked about his favorite memory or year, George recalls two early years when bad weather made for a really tough Bellin — and one special memory from a more recent race:
• 1978 – It was a Wednesday night, pouring rain, and the foam rubber-soled shoes of the era quickly became waterlogged and heavy as he ran the race. It felt like carrying a ton of weight, George recalled.
• 1979 — The Sunday afternoon event brought temps in the 80s with high humidity. Coming off Green Avenue onto East River Drive brought with it a blast of heat. After that year the race moved to Saturday morning.
• 1996 — I ran in honor of my dad who had just had heart valve replacement surgery at Bellin in the cardiac wing. The construction of that cardiac wing was the catalyst for the first Bellin. I lost my dad in 2005, but without the surgery, we would have lost him sooner.
• 2019 — Completed the entire event with a fellow Legend
Weather wasn’t the only obstacle for George through the years. He recalls his toughest Bellin Run, which was 1992 or 1993. He woke up not feeling well, but still completed the race — only to find out a few days later he had pneumonia. Other challenges included sticking to his streak despite his brother and a good friend dropping off after completing the event with him during the early years.
Despite the challenges, there have been plenty of positives during George’s 45-year streak. His family, for one — he has terrific memories of his kids completing their first Bellin Runs, and he has pictures to show the progression over the years as they grew. Before they were ready for the 10K, bringing them to the Children’s Run was a lot of fun and a great way to get them involved, George recalled.
And the Bellin Run has had a great lasting impact on George’s health. It helped get him into a consistent exercise pattern, with an early morning workouts routine that continues to this day. At age 65, he has a resting heart rate of 51 — something he attributes to his exercise routine. He was WPS’ Corporate Challenge captain before his retirement, trying to help his colleagues take that first step toward a healthier future of their own.
Congratulations, George, and here’s to many more years running!