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Meridian stroke survivor turns into triathlete

Posted: 10:09 PM, Apr 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-10 15:45:41Z

One Meridian man is taking back his life after having a stroke. In January of 2012, Kevin Rhinehart suffered a stroke.    

"I used to think life was over for me," said Rhinehart.

He was confused because there were no warning signs. 

"I found out after the fact that I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol," said Rhinehart.

Initially, Rhinehart's stroke left him unable to walk and speak.

"I gave up hope, and I was just existing," said Rhinehart.

Then one day his outlook changed.

"I volunteered for the Ironman in 2015, and I said I could do that," said Rhinehart.

He said the only problem was he didn't like to work out.

"I ran once or twice a year to remind myself that I didn't like it," said Rhinehart.

He said despite the obstacles he knew he had to take back his life. At first, his family and friends were not sure that Rhinehart was doing the right thing because they had concerns about his health.

He ignored their advice and got a coach, then started training three times a week turning himself into a triathlete. The Meridian man would eventually make his way back to the Ironman but this time as a participant.

The incredible thing is Rhinehart did not stop there. He started participating in as many events as he could. 

In 6 years, Rhinehart has collected close to a dozen medals for his hard work.

"I don't do it for the stroke survivors, not the medals," said Rhinehart.

Rhinehart recently qualified for the Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner after participating in the 2016 Ironman World Championship competition as a physical challenge athlete.

He said at 59 years old, he is now in the best shape of his life and he says his life mission now is to help others.

After the April marathon, Rhinehart is hoping to start a nonprofit to help other stroke survivors achieve their purpose.

"I hope to inspire stroke survivors," said Rhinehart.

He wants to remind those facing extreme obstacles there is always hope.