Disorder has made life hectic for Steamboat Springs athlete
November 29, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Stephen Remillard said he hopes this is it.
He's spent his whole life searching for the right place and the right people and, soaking up an afternoon beer at Old Town Pub in downtown Steamboat Springs, he said he hopes this is the right place.
"I'm really happy here," he said. "My job is only seasonal now, but I'm hoping for the best. I've lived in seven different places the last six years, and now I'm hoping for the best."
Now Remillard is a marathon runner. He knocked off his first last year, the San Francisco Marathon.
One thing that's kept him running is his association with the International Essential Tremor Foundation and Remillard's own drive to raise awareness for the disorder that has affected his own life.
Essential tremors is a neurological disorder that most often can be seen in the tremor of an arm or a hand.
Remillard said he's dealt with it for as long as he can remember.
"Basically, it causes extremities or your voice to shake," Remillard said. "In elementary school, I'd get in trouble because I couldn't do cursive nice and neat like the other kids."
It wasn't something that left him after high school, either.
Every step of the long road Remillard has traveled, the tremors have been there.
They were there after high school, when he played soccer at Chowan University in North Carolina. That didn't last long, though, and the tremors followed him as he attended three other schools before graduating.
They were there midway through that journey as he tried desperately to join the military. He was all but ready to pack for boot camp after signing up for the Army, but in the end, the tremors ruined those plans. He didn't even get that close when he tried to enlist in the Air Force and the Marines.
After graduating from San Francisco State University in May with a degree in business, he again was shot down in an attempt to join the armed forces. This time it was the Coast Guard who said "thanks, but no thanks."
"I was pissed," he said. "Here I am, an otherwise physically fit young man. I figured I was a shoo in.
"The reason I played soccer when I was younger and the reason I run now, it takes me away and I don't have to worry about" the tremors.
Remillard spent his whole life running around the country as a child thanks to his dad's job with the U.S. Forest Service, and ever since, he has been in search of a home of his own.
Only late in that process did he start really running, marathon style.
He made it through some charity fun runs and then got real in last year's San Francisco Marathon.
He couldn't sign up for the Chicago Marathon, but volunteered at the event instead and was stunned to see so many people running to raise awareness for various diseases and disorders.
"That's where this really started," he said. "I got the ideas there about how to go about grass-roots fundraising for a cause that immediately affects me."
Remillard has big plans. He's eyeing the Steamboat Pentathlon early next spring, was ready to sign up for the Steamboat Marathon the day he found out it existed and is training for an Ironman triathlon next summer in Boulder.
For now, he's training up, running every day along the Yampa River Core Trail or at Old Town Hot Springs.
"My goal in every race I do is just to finish," he said. "I put a time on it because I have goals for myself, I expect more out of myself, but the most important thing is just to finish."