Disabled Group Rep Actor Runs LA Marathon This Sunday
by Steve Peterson
Actor with Disability and Member of the Senior Community Runs LA MARATHON to Help the Group Rep
Just short of his 66th birthday, Henry Holden, an actor with a disability, will run the LA MARATHON this Sunday, March 9. In doing so, he will help raise funds to support his theatre company, the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, which is facing a frivolous lawsuit that could drain their operating funds. Henry's also racing to see if he can improve his time of twenty years ago - when he was in his mid-40s and first participated.
Since then, Henry has had open-heart surgery to repair a mitral-valve. Recently he was checked out to make sure all was a go, and he got a big thumbs-up from his cardiologist.
When asked about the challenge for someone with a disability (due to polio) he replied, "All my life I have taken on physical challenges. From the time I was eight and initially struggled to go sledding with friends to now - - I have excelled in scuba diving, horseback riding, skiing (both water and winter) flying a small engine plane, and gliding. It is those physical accomplishments that have spurred me on in my pursuit of becoming a professional actor."
For the past few months, Henry has been has been working out in his racing chair on the NoHo Bike Path at Chandler and Vineland. With the gracious help from the owner and employees at H&S Bicycles on Victory Blvd., he is assisted with the rigors of unloading the racing chair from the van and the positioning of his body on the racing chair.
When Henry started training, he was clocking 40 - 50 minutes for the 6 miles round-trip on the path. This past Sunday, he increased his workout to 2 hours and 20 minutes and did 23 miles. "I feel prepared for the 26.2 miles. Twenty years ago, I used a wheel-chair and my time was 4 hours and 25 minutes. The speedier racing chair should help better the time and hopefully have me cross the finish line somewhere under the 3 hour mark."
Having been an active member of the Group Rep for more than 3 years, Holden takes pride in having acted in main stage productions, as well as having produced and written for evenings of one-act plays called Putting on Your Shorts. Henry is donating his Marathon pledges to help defray the costs of a discrimination lawsuit regarding Ladies Night being instigated by two male audience members.
"GRT has been my family and has afforded me the opportunity to grow as an actor and as a playwright. In addition, the Lonny Chapman Theatre which houses the 40 year-old established theatre company the Group Rep, is one of a few theatres that is accessible to people with disabilities. I don't want that taken away from me."
On a personal basis, it will give Henry Holden satisfaction to not only complete the Marathon but also educate the public as to what people with disabilities are capable of.
To make a much needed donation to the Group Rep for Henry Holden's LA Marathon challenge please visit www.thegrouprep.com or call (818) 763-5990.
A direct donation for the Henry Holden LA Marathon can be made at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/store/254/donate/22716.
Information about Henry Holden can be found at henryholden.com .