Cancer and Stroke Survivor Becomes “Walker Racer” and Makes Strides Toward Recovery

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When a balance condition forced Bob Hardy to retire from marathon cycling, he started racing his Hugo rollator walker to beat depression and stay competitive.

Bob Hardy, age 63, has overcome his share of health hurdles, most recently a loss of balance. In 2000, he received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia. There was a stroke and then five years ago a hip replacement. He lost his balance last year to a vestibular disorder caused by surgical complications during cancer treatment. It left him unable to walk or drive unassisted, and cut him off entirely from racing bicycles.

When the loss of ability threatened Bob with depression, his wife suggested getting a walker. He found that his walker helped him overcome the despair he felt towards his situation.

“I can do anything I want now. I walk 5 to 7 kilometers a day with my walker because I enjoy walking around and feeling free. It has also given me a different more positive attitude to my problem. If this is a permanent issue I can still have a good life and still get around with a wobbly head.”

Depression afflicts 14 percent of seniors. It can strike in older adults if they are dealing with serious illness, if they have trouble getting around or if they've lost their independence. One third of people over the age of 65 years will report difficulties with walking.

Not only is walking is a great form of low intensity cardio exercise but it can also help reduce symptoms of depression. Walking at a fast pace for about 35 minutes five days per week or 60 minutes three days per week reportedly had a significant influence on minor to moderate depression symptoms.

Walking stimulates the body’s natural mood and immunity boosters. Speed walking at a minimum pace of 8 km/h (5 mph) delivers the same fitness benefits as jogging, according to the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research.

So when Hardy lost his balance and took up speed walking with his rollator walker, his spirits became so high, he started a ragtime band. Also he ingeniously figured out a way to keep participating in marathons. Bob started racing his walker.

“Because of the walker I can walk competitively. Being a very competitive person and formerly racing bicycles, I got into racing my walker.”

Bob rode 24,000 km (14,900 miles) in 19 marathons in the decade after cancer recovery between 2001 and 2012. “It was a way to get on with life after my battle with cancer,” said Bob Hardy. “I had already done some cycling marathons including one while I had leukemia.”

Now Bob adapts marathons to accommodate people who require the assistance to walk.
Bonneville Lachine Half Marathon on August 24th will be the third walkerthon for the indefatigable Bob Hardy. His goal is 21 km (13 miles) in 2.5 hours with his rollator walker.

Find out more about Bob and walkerthons here

Bob speed walks 60% faster than the average walking speed. During the time he turned his focus toward walkerthon training, he regained much of his stability and the ability to drive a car. When Bob is not perfecting his speed-walker technique he is usually composing classical music, conducting an orchestra or donning his jiu-jitsu black belt. What is Bob’s next goal? “I want to get back on my bike!”

Cheers for Bob!

Join us this Sunday at the Bonneville Lachine Half Marathon! Bob’s friends at Hugo Mobility will be cheering him on from the Hugo Mobility water tent. Take a rollator out for a spin. Test drive a QuadPod. Experience the therapeutic benefits of yoga through the Bali Method. Meet the instructors at Yoga Bliss and yoga guru Dr. Bali who still leads an exemplary lifestyle in his nineties!

Bonneville Lachine Half Marathon
Sunday, August 24th 2014

Chemin du musée
Pôle des rapides, 500 Chemin Iroquois, Lachine.

Registration Time: 7 am
Walk Start Time: 8 am

About Hugo Mobility

Hugo® Mobility products provide freedom and independence when balance, strength or endurance limitations reduce a person's mobility. We are constantly innovating our complete line of Rollators, Walkers, Rolling Walkers, Canes, Transport Chairs and Wheelchairs. Hugo® is one of the fastest growing major manufacturers and distributors of mobility equipment in the world. Visit us at

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Amanda Frank

Bob Hardy

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Amanda Frank

Danny Meyers
since: 02/2012
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