This year, there were about 5,000 runners in the Myrtle Beach Marathon. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) didn’t stop Greenville, North Carolina’s Melvin Coleman from being among those who ran relay races, marathons, or half marathons.
Melvin, who has suffered from TN for six years, is no doubt easily recognizable. He keeps a 3×5 foot pole with an American flag attached to it on his back as he runs. He was a Marine for four years and shows his patriotic spirit. In the 20 years of this event, Melvin has made about 10 appearances with the flag that follows him. He has overcome a lot so he could get back to running.
Trigeminal neuralgia can cause severe pain. Melvin missed last year’s race because of it.
In the summer, he decided to get brain surgery. TN pain occurs when an artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve contact or connect with each other. The surgery separates the blood vessels so they will no longer connect with the nerve. Post-surgery, Melvin can no longer hear in his left ear and he remains numb on the same side. With time, the numbness may subside.
He made it to his goal to return to the race at Myrtle Beach due to the support Melvin has received throughout the years. Similarly, while he was running some of the spectators ran up to him in order to hug him. Melvin states that they are his inspiration to keep running.
He thought he would only run half the marathon but this year Melvin ran the full marathon in 5 hours and 20 minutes.
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