2018-01-10 / Front Page

‘I used to be sane’

Shirtless barber runs in freezing weather
BY ERIC LEVINE
810-452-2689 • elevine@mihomepaper.com


Amy Roggenbuck and Mark Heberling pose before the start of Heberling’s run that raised more than $1,500 for Right to Life of Sanilac County. 
Photo by Eric Levine Amy Roggenbuck and Mark Heberling pose before the start of Heberling’s run that raised more than $1,500 for Right to Life of Sanilac County. Photo by Eric Levine What started out as a joke on Facebook ended with a Sandusky barber’s benefit run through the city’s downtown Sunday in below zero temperatures.

Mark Heberling, better known as Mark the Barber, clad only in swimming trunks, tennis shoes and protective face gear over his nose and mouth, ran through downtown in minus 11-degrees wind chill.

An estimated 40 to 50 people watched the run along South Elk Street, waving and yelling encouragement to the shirtless barber.

It began as a Facebook post about streaking across the street for $10,000, according to Amy Roggenbuck of Sandusky, president of Right to Life of Sanilac County.

The following day - Jan. 2 - Heberling, who operates a barbershop downtown, posted, “today will be the hottest day of the week with temperatures soaring to 19 degrees. Darn near swimming weather here in Michigan.”


“Mark the Barber” Heberling begins his Sunday morning benefit run. 
Photo by Eric Levine “Mark the Barber” Heberling begins his Sunday morning benefit run. Photo by Eric Levine The posting prompted a reply from Roggenbuck: “Yep, it’s a heat wave out there! Dig out your bathing suit Mark.”

“It started out as a joke between Amy and I and grew into a challenge,” said Heberling, adding, “I used to be sane.”

The barber challenged Roggenbuck to raise $1,000 for Right to Life, vowing to run in his swimsuit from the downtown stoplight to Ace Hardware if the goal was met.

It didn’t take long to raise the money. By the end of the week, Heberling estimated more than $1,500 had been collected.

On Sunday at 8 a.m., Heberling, made good on his promise. He stepped out of a pickup truck, took off his robe, and clad in swimsuit and shoes, began the run along Sanilac Avenue, just west of the traffic light.

The run was live-streamed on Facebook, as Heberling turned south at the light onto Elk, and ran behind the pickup sporting a Right to Life banner across the front bumper. A Sandusky police car traveled in front of the truck.

The first annual “Mark the Barber’s Polar Run for Life” actually went a bit further than Ace, to Greenstone Farm Credit Services, where Heberling turned around and ran back to the barber shop in the first block south of the light.

Heberling, 54, said he ran 400 yards in 64 seconds, or six and a half miles per hour.

As of Monday morning, Heberling said the video of the run posted his Facebook page had been viewed 12,000 times.

“I would like to thank all of the people of our community that donated to our event and a  special thank you to all of you that braved the cold to watch the run,” Heberling said.

“Please remember that the event is not about me, but rather my attempt to shed attention upon Right to Life of Sanilac County.”

Roggenbuck called Heberling “a true gem for us in the pro-life movement.”

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