Mercy doctor’s passion for running

Every Thursday morning Doctor Charles Edwards II runs from his home in Ruxton to his office in the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore. The route is about nine miles.

Dr. Edwards has been running since his days of cross country and track in middle school. When he was just 10 years old he ran a 40-mile course, which was set up by his Boy Scout troop, from York, Pa., to Hunt Valley in one day. By the time he graduated from high school he had done the course seven times and even set the record at one and a half hours.

“In middle school I was one of the fastest kids in my class,” said Dr. Edwards. “I was able to go far and fast.”

While in college one of his friends extended a challenge to come to Birmingham, Ala., and run in the Vulcan Marathon with him. Dr. Edwards accepted and completed the marathon by finishing the race first in his age group at two hours and 50 minutes. Since then he has finished nine marathons, the highlight being the Athens Marathon in 2006.

“Marathons have become popular and they are fun, so I have been drawn to them,” said Dr. Edwards, who is encouraging his 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughters to practice running. “I really enjoy going to other cities and getting to know those cities.”

For a year and a half, Dr. Edwards and his friend Dr. Spiro Antoniades, also a surgeon at the Maryland Spine Center, trained for the Athens Marathon, and with each step they got closer and closer to their goal.

“I challenged him to run a marathon, the Athens marathon. He is Greek and it really spoke to him and his culture,” said the encouraging Dr. Edwards.

For Dr. Edwards the Athens Marathon was the realization of a dream because it was birthplace of the marathon. The Athens marathon course started in the town of Marathon, where the first ever marathon took place, ran up through the hills and into the city of Athens. Dr. Edwards, Dr. Antoniades and Aerlyn Dawn, Dr. Edwards’ brother-in-law, finished the race in the Athens stadium, which is over 2,000 years old.

“I think with most things in life that are worth pursuing you need to develop good habits, and with running taking the time out of your busy schedule, pushing past the physical discomforts and doing that enough will allow you to experience the joys and satisfactions of the sport,” said Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Edwards said he likes getting other people involved in running and watching as they achieve their goals. He said many people get involved in running because they are trying to address something like being overweight or high blood pressure. He doesn’t have those issues yet; for him running is more of a preventative measure.

Running keeps him active, boosts his metabolism, lowers his blood pressure and increases his good cholesterol. However, running can take a toll on a person’s knees.
For the last two years, Dr. Edwards has been running two marathons a year.

“What I learned from those experiences is that running two marathons in a year is more than is optimal for my body, so I did not run the Boston Marathon this spring,” said Dr. Edwards. “I’m planning to only run one marathon a year.”

He plans to run the Chicago Marathon, which is more of a flat course, with Dr. Antoniades. Dr. Edwards is becoming more aware of the wear and tear running can take on his body and he wants to be able to run with his kids if they are ever interested.

Running in the morning sets Dr. Edwards on the right path for the day; he is energized, awake and ready to take on the stresses of the day.

“People need quiet time,” he said, “that’s my quiet time.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.