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Running Team Helps Grass Valley Man Stay On Track As He Battles Alzheimer's

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — A Grass Valley man has a passion to run, but his Alzheimers causes him to get lost when he goes running.

Geno Meyers, 66, continues to do what he's loves all his life—to run.

"Every morning he wakes up and says 'Do I have a race today?'" said Cathy, his wife of 33 years.

She's also his caretaker since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago.

"It's been real tough, but theres nothing I can do," he said.

He was so good in college almost 50 years ago that he was eventually inducted into the hall of fame at Chico State for track and field. Since then, he's had a long and decorated running career.

"That's what they say, I'm not sure if they are always right," he said.

His other passion is mining for gold. That's how he supported his wife and kids. He loved his career and running.

But after his diagnosis, he went for a run and got lost. Gone for hours, he would eventually be found several miles from home.

Then Geno found coach Clyde Lehman and the Trkac racing team in Nevada County who embraced him with open arms.

"He motivates everybody, he really does," Lehman said. "The disease has taken so much from him, but whats left is his spirit."

Now, every day that Geno runs, his teammates from Trkac are with him, every step of the way, sometimes even hand in hand to make sure Geno always makes it home.

While it's difficult sometimes for Geno to express how he feels, one thing he's sure of is he'll keep running until the day he dies.

"To be able to do this and do it well is really valuable I think for his self esteem and for himself," Cathy said. "And it sure makes me feel happy when I see him run."

Through his perseverance, he's taught his running mates a very valuable life lesson.

"Age is not a barrier, disease is not a barrier, and so he gives the entire team hope," Lehman said.

In his most recent race, Geno won a 5K in his age group with a finishing time of 25:41 and qualified to become a United States All-American Runner.

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