Zack Rundell: How Mountain Bike Racing Saved My Life

Zack Rundell finds sanctuary on his mountain bike.

"When I found the bike, this was my medication," Rundell said. "I didn't need any medication this is the real medication right here."

The 18-year-old knows about medications, prescribed 25 of them over seven years to treat everything from autism to ADHD. After four years at the dePaul School for Dyslexia in Scranton, the Clarks Summit-native joined the Keystone Mountain Bike Team and found his passion.

"He just loves to get out on the bike," Zack's father Ken said. "When he's feeling down, he'll get out on the bike and he'll ride for a couple hours. When he's done, he feels much, much better."

"Somehow the bike got me, I got it and words can't express," Zack said. "I got some success with cycling and I never thought I would get this far."

That same, troubled kid is U.S. Cycling category one cross country mountain biker. In just three years racing, he's already a two-time state champion. His success on the bike really is an incredible story, but even more incredible is his desire to share his story. Now a senior at Abington Heights, Rundell has been asked to tell his story about a dozen times now and he's turning into quite the motivational speaker.

"I didn't have hope for most of my life," he explained. "There was no hope, but I kept on pushing and I never gave up no matter what."

A message and an example he hopes to set.

"If you're different, it doesn't mean that you can't do great things," Rundell said. "It doesn't mean that you can't find your passion. You just have to work a little harder."

"It's really inspiring," Ken added. "It's inspiring and it's great to see the responses that he gets."

"These people are not going to give up," the younger Rundell said. "They're going to find it. They're going to find their way in life like we all do."

Rundell's next motivational speech is at the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) conference in Idaho next month. His next race is the Canada Cup this Sunday in Quebec.

"This journey is taking me all over," Rundell said.

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