So if you don’t follow Courtney at Run, Courtney, Run (you should-she rocks:) ) then you missed that I was the “Runner of the Week” on her blog this week! And if you missed that, then you missed reading about my Uncle Jimmy. So I am adding the post here for all to see. Enjoy!
I recently wrote about why I starting running on my blog. I decided that I didn’t want a repeat post and that you could read it here. Instead I wanted to give everyone a little motivation and inspiration; About a 90 year old man that is still running 3 miles a day. And you read it right, 90. That man is my great uncle, Jimmy Matthews.
I can assume that all of you, like myself, get annoyed when asked, “What about your knees?” “Aren’t you worried about what your doing to your body for the future?” Well, not really because I live in the moment and I am loving what I am doing. But Uncle Jimmy can be an example for you to throw out there next time someone asks you those annoying questions.
Uncle Jimmy holds over 27 state records in his age group, is a member of the Mobile Port City Pacers and has had several articles written about him in the local paper, the Mobile Press Register. Perhaps the most amazing thing is, that in 2006, he hit the mileage of the circumference of the earth 24,900 miles (yes, at age 85). And of course Daily Mile wasn’t around back then so this was all recorded in a big notebook. Every mile. What an accomplishment. I hope to say the same about myself some day.
He started running when he was 61. That just goes to show you are never too old to start a new habit. And Uncle Jimmy will tell you, “One of the reasons I started running was to run away from some bad acquaintances–Jim Beam, George Dickel, Hiram Walker to name a few.” He quit drinking cold turkey and started to realize the rest of the health benefits running has on your body. He has an incredibly low heart rate for his age and still has tons of energy.*
I will be honest, I wasn’t very interested in any of this until I started running 2 years ago. I do remember growing up reading about him in the paper and my grandmother always letting me know what he was up to, if he broke a record, etc, but as a non-runner I didn’t quite get it. It is really cool to go back and see what all he has accomplished in 30 years of running.
He retired from races a few years ago. I think I picked up where he left off. It is a must to call my grandmother after each and every race (5K included) to report back my times. She likes to call Uncle Jimmy and let him know how I am doing. He recently made a donation towards my fundraising for TNT for the Big Sur Marathon and included a note:
“I am so proud of you as if I was running those races myself. Don’t forget–If it was easy everybody would be doing it. Keep up the good work.”
P.S. I’m still running 3 miles on the treadmill
Well said Uncle Jimmy, well said. I recently injured my IT Band and went to a sports doc (who is a marathoner and cyclist) who lectured me on how running this much will still hurt me in the long run, my body can’t take it, etc. I just nodded my head and thought about Uncle Jimmy. You just never know what your body can handle–I am hoping I have his genes and can run until I am old and grey. Bottom line-age is just a number. Next time someone asks you the typical annoying running questions or gives you a hard time…tell them you once read about a 90 year old man that was still running without any problems.
*Part of this was taken from an article written in the Mobile Press Register in Oct.2006.