Jason's March to the Marathon: April 5 Running with my All-Ameri - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jason's March to the Marathon: April 5 Running with my All-American uncle

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - He's 80 years old and still running the race - literally. My uncle Jim Rosborough has completed at least 24 marathons. Most recently, he finished #2 at the World Sprint Triathlon in his age group, barely beat by a Russian man. And he's not done yet.

On a recent visit to see him in Houston for the NCAA basketball "Final Four," I got a chance to run with Jim through the streets of the Space City. It was an honor, since he is someone that inspires me.

I asked my uncle: What's your secret of success, still running at your age? He first gave credit to his wife Naomi (my aunt) for exercising with him almost daily for decades, and then he simply said, "I've continued."

I'm learning that's what running or achieving any big goal is partially about - continuing, and not allowing excuses or my feelings to stop me from lacing up those running shoes. It's a way of life, one that has so far helped me face tough challenges, reduce stress, and stay in shape.

Granted, that doesn't make it easier to run 19 miles one recent morning or more than 35 miles total last week, but it's training for something bigger than me.

My uncle, who's now labeled as an All-American for triathlons, started running at around 35 years old, just two years younger than the beginning of my running career. It's never too late.

Sometimes, there's a wake up call. Jim told me his was 20 years ago with cancer surgery. Since then, he's eaten much better and had more of a drive to make exercise a priority.

He also tells me there have been some bumps along the way, especially at his age, now spacing out runs every three days or so because of recent hamstring and calf strains. He also does plenty of swimming (his favorite), walking, and biking like spinning classes.

My uncle doesn't remember having any major ailments, and is in very good shape for 80 years old. He credits staying active.

Jim also remembers being a test subject for a doctor's study on hearts of older people who raced. The research found seniors who compete have a much more flexible heart.

It did my heart some good to do a few training runs in Houston, even though my North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team barely lost the National Championship at the buzzer.

Compared to the electric crowd at that arena, it was much quieter as I ran through downtown Houston and also through neighborhoods, right by a plethora of multimillion dollar homes.

If someone twice my age can run and compete the way my uncle does, it gives me even more confidence to complete my first marathon later this month, then strive to stay in shape for decades to come. Thanks, Jim.

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