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Jim Asbury running to get back into shape

Jim Asbury

PARKERSBURG — Jim Asbury has been running in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon on and off for the last 10 years.

“It was my first race,” said the 49-year-old Vienna resident. “I work at Solvay in Marietta, and it was there I actually got interested in running, because there’s a large group there that runs.”

Asbury was clocked in 1 hour, 41.15 minutes in his first Half. The following year, he did it in 1:42.41.

Buoyed by those times, Asbury had high expectations for future runs in the 13.1-mile distance.

“I was trying to figure out how to run it in 1:30,” he said.”But I never was able to beat my best time.

“Everytime I’d build up for it, I’d get an injury of some sort.”

Asbury paused.

“I’d also always wanted to run a marathon, but I could never stay healthy,” he continued. “I’d start training, and then I’d hurt my calf or something.”

About five years ago, Asbury covered the Half distance in 2:10.36. In his last August run in 2016, he did it in 2:09.37.

“Now, I’m not running against the clock,” Asbury said. “I’m just trying to get back into shape, lose a little bit of weight, and run for fun.”

A 1989 Parkersburg High grad, Asbury played some football for Buddy James and wrestled at 132 for Joe Handlan.

“I was a lot lighter than,” he said, laughing.

Asbury also ran some track in junior high.

“I did the 100 and hurdles,” he recalled. “Anything over 400 was more than I ever envisioned myself wanting to run.”

Asbury also broke his ankle playing football in junior high.

“It was pretty bad,” he said.

Fast-forward to the present, Asbury said he had his “knee scoped” last year. But there he was, at City Park Monday at 5 p.m. for a training session for this year’s Half.

“I haven’t run with the runner’s club that much recently,” Asbury said. “It’s nice to come out just to see some old faces.

“It’s really the only time I run here in City Park. I usually train in Vienna.”

Asbury smiled.

“It’s good exercise,” he said. “The competitive piece of it has probably escaped me for now. My goal now is just to finish the race.”

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