Society

Alex Mesa, the Backwards Jogger, Gets Ticket for Running

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A Miami, Fla. man who loves to jog backwards became a local celebrity once he started doing it everyday. But now, police are trying to put a stop to his running.

Alex Mesa, 44, has been HIV positive for 20 years and also has cirrhosis of the liver from a past of drinking and doing drugs. He thinks of his running as a miracle from God because with his illnesses, he should not be able to run at all.

But on April 6, someone reported Mesa for running backwards and four police officers showed up to give him a ticket and tell him to stop.

"Four police officers for someone who's jogging backwards? Someone who is doing the right thing? That's uncalled for," Mesa said. "That's a waste of manpower."

"I'm not doing anything different from somebody rollerskating, skateboarding, riding bicycles in the middle of the street."

Miami Beach Police said he was running in between cars and was putting himself and others at danger. 

"He was jogging in between cars," Robert Hernandez of the Miami Beach Police Department said. "A concerned citizen called 911. Officers were dispatched to that area."

"They observed this behavior and advised them that he couldn't do it. He said he's always done it and will do it again."

Mesa thinks police are picking on him because he was arrested years ago for a drug charge, but police are denying it.

They believe Mesa was creating a traffic obstruction and so deserved the ticket.

Mesa was struggling for years with health problems from HIV and his past addictions, but was able to overcome them through exercising.

"God has given me another chance to enjoy life and given me the power to run backwards again because that's what I enjoy," he said. "I do my best exercise five times a week. I definitely make it a priority to jog backwards two or three times a week. And when I do, I run for an hour-and-a-half to 2 hours nonstop on a good day."

"Only God knows how long he will let me continue through this journey. Every time I take one step jogging backwards I dedicate it to him because that is a miracle. I represent what supposedly is not possible."

Sources: Daily Mail, Miami Sun Post