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Submitted by Jack Gallagher, Retired Executive
As a 78-year-old runner and retired financial executive I believe that we old guys continue to have a role to play in the healthy living department. (I originally came to Winter Park to serve as the CFO of Philip Crosby Associates, for whom the Crosby Wellness Center is named.)
I try to play that role by overseeing the Winter Park Sunday running group. I have been running with the group for 25 years and miss it only when I am traveling. We have members whose age ranges from the mid-20s to the late 70s. I have a very symbiotic relationship with the group. They look up to the older members and we maintain our connection with the young. It works surprisingly well and results in a very comfortable kinship among all ages.
I recently delivered a talk aimed at aging runners outlining what happens as we age and how we can successfully cope with the inevitable decline which takes place.
There are a surprising large number of men and women over 70 who compete in the local road races. We elders probably tend to be overlooked when the subject of fitness arises. While my marathon running days MAY be over, I have made a commitment to stay fit, maintain a sense of community with local runners of all ages and share my experiences of over 30 years of competitive running. (Last marathon run at age 75 at the Space Coast.)
I am committed also to serving as a role model for my young friends and draw from whom I draw energy and inspiration. I also am committed to involving our running community in dealing with the needs of our community. Towards this end, our running group conducts an annual blanket collection for men who sleep in the overnight shelter at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
The attached picture was taken, of all places, in Red Rock Canyon near the foot of Pikes Peak. Coincidentally, three members of my Sunday Running group were able to get together two weeks ago in Colorado. One of our members (69 years old) lives in Colorado but also maintains a condo in WP. The other is a member of our Sunday group who just relocated to CO due to her husband’s promotion.
That run took place at 6,000 feet climbing 500 feet over two miles. A real challenge for people who have Florida flatlander legs!