Team Chocolate Milk – Bryon Solberg
We are excited to feature our second of four Built With Chocolate Milk Athletes competing in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon coming up on Nov. 12th! Since 1998, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series has made running fun by infusing the course with live bands, cheer teams, and creating a block-party atmosphere for participants and spectators. We are showcasing four of the Team Chocolate Milk athletes who are competing this year to learn more about their interests, motivations, and quirky traits!
This week we talked with Bryon Solberg, who is no stranger to overcoming obstacles and striving to be his best. In 1999 Bryon began experiencing coordination problems and weakness in his hands, which was discovered to be the result of a congenital spinal condition. Doctors found that Bryon had been born without a small bone, called the odontoid, which typically inhibits the vertebrae from separating and puts pressure on the spinal cord.
In March of 2000 Bryon had surgery to fuse the two vertebrae and then follow-up surgery one year later. Bryon had to relearn how to walk not only once, but twice due to his surgeries. Most people with this condition die at a young age. However, Bryon survived and is believed to be the oldest survivor of the condition. Before is spinal cord injury Bryon had competed in five marathons, but this last year alone he has competed in 30 marathons. Bryon has covered the marathon distance hundreds of times in wheelchairs and is currently at 95 marathons on foot so far. Read on to learn more about Bryon and his passion for being a Team Chocolate Milk athlete!
What is one of your greatest athletic achievements?
Relearning to walk, twice, after both spinal surgeries, each a year apart to the day! I spent hundreds of hours with floats and life jackets in the pool.
What is a favorite hobby of yours? (other than running)
I am an 11-year Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop. Helping them grow with the personal achievement, leadership, community service, and hiking/backpacking adventures is so rewarding!
Who is someone that inspires you?
The athletes with The Challenged Athletes Foundation, who have lost arms, legs, sight, and/or spinal function have overcome so many struggles and give us all hope that we all can overcome. They do not ask: “Why me?” They ask: “WHAT’S NEXT!!!”
What’s your absolute favorite meal?
PIZZA!!!! All four food groups in the same food!!
How long have you been competing in races?
I have been doing events since high school. I did one marathon a year before my spinal cord injury, but this year I have done 30! I have covered the marathon distance hundreds of times in wheelchairs, and I am at 95 marathons on foot so far.
What motivates you to run?
The training and events give me goals, and all these help me keep my strength up. I know that I am not too far from having to go back into the wheelchair.
When do you train – morning, afternoon, night?
I LOVE getting out in the morning, often when it is still dark. It allows me to then go out and be strong in the world. When I was training for a 24-hour event, I did train at all hours!!
If you could race anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to do a marathon in Greece, where marathons were born!
What’s one hidden talent that many people don’t know you have?
Organic Chemistry. I somehow got “A+’s” in it throughout my education. The pathways and steps of synthesizing a complicated molecule would just somehow appear to me like frames of a cartoon.
What made you choose the Rock ‘N Roll Las Vegas Marathon?
I am so excited to do a night race, and to do it in the amazing lights of the Las Vegas Strip!!!
What’s your favorite thing about Chocolate Milk?
I LOVE THE TASTE!! Cold, refreshing, and CHOCOLATE!!
When I was in the neck brace and my hands/arms did not work very well at all, chocolate milk through a straw was what kept me going! The hospital staff called me “The Chocolate Milk Doc!”
We are proud to have Bryon on Team Chocolate Milk and hear how chocolate milk has helped him in his journey! Be sure to follow Bryon as he competes in the upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. We will be cheering him on and ready to congratulate him with a cool, refreshing chocolate milk at the finish line!