After being sidelined in his 20s with painful shin splints, 56-year-old Randy Shorr waited until three years ago to start running again.
"I started doing some 5ks and one or two 10ks and started thinking, I can really do this," says Shorr, a lawyer. "I built up my training and did the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon last fall. I was pretty happy for my first time out in 35 years."
Shorr, who will run his third half-marathon during the Gay Games, loves the rhythm that running provides and the access it gives him to his city. He starts most mornings with a training run from the Gordon Square home he shares with his husband down West 65th Street toward the lake.
"I come out from the tunnel [at the end of his street] and I'm looking out over Lake Erie, over Edgewater Park," he says. "It's such a great way to enjoy the beauty in our area."
But when it comes to Cleveland and the Gay Games, Shorr thinks competitive sports are the perfect vehicle for building community and overturning a few stereotypes along the way.
"A lot of people have thought that gay people and athletes are not one in the same," he says. "To be out there competing with a bunch of gay athletes who are super at what they do will be a very proud part of it for me."
Shorr credits his return to running with the confidence boost that comes from doing CrossFit for the past four years.
"I'm the oldest one in there, and for me, it's the fact that I can still do this stuff," he says of the grueling fitness program.
That's a theme he carries over to the games.
"My pride in doing this is more for being an older athlete than a gay athlete," says Shorr.