When John MacIntyre completed his 100th half marathon in August, his running group surprised him at the finish line with a banner that read: “Congratulations, Geezer Jock!”
At 83, he takes pride in the nickname and even more pride in inspiring others to join him for runs.
Mr. MacIntyre serves as coach of the Seasoned Soles, a run-walk group intended to get fellow residents of San Antonio’s Blue Skies of Texas retirement community moving. He jokingly called it the Off the Couch Club when he launched the program two years ago. Some members, like Pat Hochstat, 73, hadn’t run in 40 years. Ms. Hochstat joined in January and now walks six days a week, rain or shine, and is working her way up to walk-runs.
With a median age of 75, most of the 16 members start out walking and graduate to intervals of walking and jogging, Mr. MacIntyre says. He credits the Jeff Gallowayrun-walk-run training program for getting him going at age 68 and staying injury-free. He ran his first marathon at age 70 and, after completing more than a half-dozen 26.2-mile races in the span of two years, turned his attention to the half marathon. “My wife was beginning to wonder if she’d ever see me again,” he says. “Halfs are a nice, respectable distance and the training doesn’t eat up as much time.”
A member of Half Fanatics, a group devoted to running half marathons, Mr. MacIntyre was racing one half marathon a month pre-pandemic and used the Seasoned Soles workouts to complement his training. When the coronavirus forced races to go virtual, he convinced six original Seasoned Soles members to join him for virtual 5Ks and 10Ks. “We register so they can get the bling,” he says. “That shirt or medal are always encouraging when you are starting out.”