Ultramarathoning Replaces Drug and Alcohol Addiction for Davenport's 'Yo-Yo Man'

Feb 5, 2019

Scott Searle of Davenport is better known as the "yo-yo man" to many in the Quad Cities-area who see him log hundreds of miles while yo-yo-ing. The hobby sprang from a dark place for Searle, and he's used it to help battle his alcoholism and drug addiction.

"I discovered that the sidewalk was your infinite treadmill," he says. 

Searle says his family made many attempts to intervene to help him stop drinking, but his focus didn't shift until he started exercising at his local YMCA. 

After exercising, Searle noticed changes in his body and an improvement in his mood. He began to experience sobriety in a way that didn't happen for him unless he was in the hospital, jail, or rehab. He transitioned from ellipticals and treadmills to organized races and "caught the running bug." Soon running became a positive addiction that he felt kept him accountable, but he still struggled with agoraphobia and sometimes had trouble leaving the house. 

That's when the yo-yo came into the picture. One day he came across a bright yellow yo-yo on a clearance rack that he felt some kind of connection to.

“It felt whimsical, I felt like a kid again and I said ‘You know what, I could do this while I run,'" says Searle, who now views his yo-yo like a security blanket.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with the ultramarathoner about his rehabilitation through exercise, and of course his yo-yo. Searle also is the founder of Food for Thought, which provides meals to the homeless in Davenport, and is the winner of a 2019 Jefferson Award.