As an Olympic hopeful in the marathon, Nick Edinger is not one to shy away from challenges.
Being inactive, however, proved more daunting than preparing for and competing in long-distance events for the Mars resident.
Last winter, Edinger was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back.
“It was from all of the training and running I do,” he said. “I didn't have to have surgery, but there was a lot of rehabilitation. I'm used to running 120 miles per week and I was told I couldn't run for two months. It was a lot of agonizing rest.”
Edinger proved he is well on his way to making a full recovery, winning the men's 5-mile portion of the Butler Road Race Saturday morning for the fourth straight year and fifth time overall.
His time was 27 minutes, 14.27 seconds — not his best effort here, but as he pointed out, “I'm not back to full-strength, but I feel like a runner again. My plan is to be fully back by September.”
Edinger, 27, began running again in April and competed in the Pittsburgh Marathon in May for the Wolf Creek Track Club, which won the men's team title.
“My time wasn't great (in Pittsburgh), but that was all about helping the team,” he said. “I ran there (in 2017) and placed eighth overall.
“My plan was to run here all along. It's all about getting healthy and gearing up for the Olympic Trials in Atlanta next February.”
Edinger, who first won here in 2013, has competed on a national level, including marathons in Indianapolis and Chicago. But the 2009 Mars graduate, who graduated from Geneva College with five school records, still targets the Butler Road Race every year.
“This is one of the best local races and it's important for me to stay ingrained in the community,” he said.
Edinger's wife, Alayna, competed in the women's race and placed first in her age group.
“I wouldn't be able to do this, compete like I do, without her support,” he said.