Adrian Hovelman, a 23-year-old business student at the University of Texas at Dallas, lost his hearing at the age of five. After years of wearing hearing aids as a child, they became increasingly ineffective. Luckily, Hovelman was a candidate for cochlear implant surgery, in which medical devices inserted into the ear bypass the damaged portion and send audio signals directly to the auditory nerve.
Hesitant at first, Hovelman received cochlear implants in December 2013 from Advanced Bionics after meeting several patients who had experienced success after the surgery. Calling himself the Bionic Athlete, Hovelman decided to celebrate his recently improved hearing — and raise awareness for others who suffer from hearing loss — by running a half marathon every month in 2015.
To date, Hovelman has completed four runs: the Austin Half Marathon (Austin, Texas), the CowTown Marathon (Fort Worth, Texas), Hells Hills Trail Race (Smithville, Texas), and the Durty Spur Trail Run (Hamilton, Texas). His next stop is at Bear Mountain State Park for its North Face Endurance Challenge on May 2. The 50-kilometer course, which winds along the Hudson River and through the Catskill Mountains, is very challenging due to its rocks and hills. After his time in the Hudson Valley, Hovelman will travel to the West coast for the Ohlone 50-kilometer race in Fremont, California. He wraps up the summer with two more half marathons in Colorado.
Hovelman’s goal in running these races is about “raising awareness for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community one adventure at a time,” as his Bionic Athletic Facebook page states. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, an estimated 30 out of every 1,000 school-aged children experience some degree of hearing loss, with one in three people over the age of 65 experiencing it. As it stands, about 20 percent of the entire adult U.S. population has reported some degree of hearing loss. Because of this, Hovelman is dedicated to inspiring this relatively large deaf and hard-of-hearing community through physical activities.
In addition to running, Hovelman loves hiking, climbing, camping, and backpacking. Fitness has always been an outlet for him since his parents introduced him to sports when he was old enough to walk. It did not matter what sport Hovelman was playing; he was always more interested in the reward he felt for being active. As the Bionic Athlete, he hopes to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
North Face Endurance Challenge New York
When: Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3
Where: Bear Mountain State Park, 55 Hessian Dr., Bear Mountain