DANVILLE — There’s no age limit to feeling young.
A record number of runners of all ages took part in the East Knox Lions Club 5K Turkey Trot in Danville on Saturday morning.
In all, 78 runners and walkers signed up. Although some of the best times were turned in by younger runners, it was the young-at-heart who dominated the numbers.
Ernie Russeau, 58, has been running since high school, picking it up again about five years ago. On Saturday he finished first in the 50-and-older category with a time of 20:45 — good enough for fifth overall.
“I was into cross country in high school,” said Russeau. “After awhile, I did power walking. Now, my son is running cross country, and I’m running with him. Of course, I have 40 years on him. … Having a son in cross county motivates me to continue.”
Russeau’s son, Chad Stroud, is a senior at Fredericktown High School. His time of 20:25 only barely beat his father.
“Being competitive, I push myself a little too hard,” said Russeau. “People ask me, ‘When will you stop?’ I know people that are running into their 70s. So I figure I’ve got at least 20 years to go.”
The run, which starts in Danville and follows the Mohican Valley trail, is an important tool for runners to gauge themselves as summer approaches. That’s part of the reason why the annual race is becoming more popular. This year’s total number of runners is believed to be a record.
“I’ve got pictures from 2007 when we had something like 15, 20 people,” said race organizer Betty Cea. “It has grown each year.
“What I really like about it — families. Families run together. The mom walks with the little kids and the dad runs with the big kids.”
It’s also a great chance to keep in shape.
“My sister-in-law started running in Texas, and so I started doing it,” said Darcy Knight of Howard. “And I started losing weight doing it. I just really enjoy it.”
Knight began running eight years ago. Now in her 40s, Knight has run in two half-marathons. She said running has not only kept her in shape, but has given her an additional pleasant twist in her life.
“Part of the reason I run is so I can eat what I want to eat,” she confessed. “So there’s a method to this madness.”