10/08/02 - Running at 80

We're all guilty of finding excuses to not exercise, but one Heartland man says there's no excuse good enough to be lazy. Carl Johnson has been running for ten years, but he's been active his whole life. He lives by the philosophy, enjoy your health while you have it!
He starts his workout like any good runner should with a few stretches. After he's finished, you better get out of his way, because Johnson is on the move. "If we don't use the energy we do have we will soon lose it," Johnson says.
New Balance is the running shoe of his choice, and the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff is his home track. At 80-years-old, Johnson's not out there for laughs, he's on a mission to stay healthy. "As long as we're exercising hard enough for the blood to pump through our system to clean our veins, it will burn up the calories, that's the important thing to prevent heart problems," Johnson says.
As a general rule, Johnson runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to get in his 15 miles a week, often he runs on his off days, to add even more miles to his workout. And that can be anywhere from an extra five, to 20 miles a week. At least 15 miles a week, four weeks in a month, 12 months in a year, you can do the math on how much this man runs, and he's not stopping anytime soon. "I enjoy life," Johnson says. "I'm not eager to leave planet earth with all it's problems. I feel it's my responsibility to be here."
Johnson also feels it's young people's responsibility to get active, and he tells them that every chance he gets. "I will tease them sometime about how I wish I had youth and vitality, it must be wonderful," he says. But Johnson does have plenty of energy, and is thankful he's able to get out everyday and run. "I love it, I really love it."
The only thing Johnson doesn't do anymore is compete in races. But he says he could always change his mind on that decision.