92-year-old walker ready to compete

PARKERSBURG – Spend a few minutes with 92-year-old Ohio resident Jack McClain and you can’t help but be amazed by his physical condition and his daily routine.

Come Saturday at the 27th running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon, McClain will make a return trip to Parkersburg after missing last year’s event.

A former runner who didn’t even pick up the sport until he was 55, McClain probably does a lot more than people even half his age on a near daily basis.

“I get up in the morning usually about a quarter to five,” McClain, a resident of Granville near Denison University, said of his daily routine.

That routine includes meeting up with his good friend Dave Kintner to get the day started. The pair used to run marathons together until McClain had to give that up and focus on walking.

“Quite often his wife accompanies us and Dave is younger, around 56-years-old,” said the retired mechanical engineer. “I get up and meet him in the parking lot of Denison University and that’s just a couple miles from our home here. Then we usually walk up through the village and back to the parking area.

“When they leave me, I’ll go up to the stadium at Denison and just walk some laps. Then if I’m not too tired, I’ll join my wife (Jeanne) over at the swimming pool in Denison and maybe get a half hour of swimming in. I swim very slowly.”

Despite missing last year’s half marathon walk here because he was slowed by a stroke, McClain has managed to do pretty well on the course for his age. In 2011, he walked the 13.1 miles in 3 hours, 28 minutes and 52 seconds. His other times the three years before that were – 3:33:51 in 2010, 3:15:07 in 2009 and 3:13:05 in 2008.

“I was just in the hospital three days and got out rather quickly,” McClain said of his setback last August. “I had a blood clot in my brain and I was fortunate to be able to come home.

“One of the doctors I had, he was a younger doctor, happened to be a runner and he helped me. He encouraged me to go right back to walking half marathons when I felt I was ready and that’s exactly what I did.”

For not picking up running until he was nearly at retirement age, McClain has made the most of his time. Aside from running in 49 full marathons, he’s biked across the United States with Wandering Wheels and was twice on the USA duathlon team where he made trips to Europe.

He competed with Wandering Wheels through Taylor University in Indiana where he took a six-week journey via bike from Oceanside, Calif., to Jekyll Island, Ga.

McClain gives a lot of credit to his wife, friends and family for all the support he gets and hopes to finish this year’s race in less than four hours.

“I’m just blessed to still be able to participate and walk in them,” McClain added. “I do get the same good feeling participating and being with the runners and walkers.

“Parkersburg is very special, I think. It’s always wonderful and I enjoy it. The run is picturesque and it’s not an easy one. It’s a challenging one with that (13th Street) hill.”