Monday, May 17, 2010

Runner in the Spotlight: Ken Simpson

Ken Simpson has been running for the most years of any other member in the club! Ken shares his remarkable story...from his experiences in his first marathon in 1976 to his favorite road races in Charlotte today! Enjoy!

Where do you work?

What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

Do you have any kids? Do they run?
Two Daughters, Cindy and Pam do not run, Step-Daughter Laura is a member of CRC and has run half-marathons, training for a marathon. I also have a 10 year old grandson who lives in Indianapolis and is running.

How long have you lived in Charlotte?
19 years

Favorite place you've traveled and loved for running?
Next to NC, I loved living in Southern California, running along the Pacific Ocean and in the Santa Monica Mountains and Canyons.

When and why did you start running?
I started High School Cross Country and Track in 1954 because of a coach having faith in me, luring me away from basketball and baseball. I stopped running in 1995 and entered the Duke Cancer Center in 1998 after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. With less than a 5% survival rate I underwent a 14 hour surgery to remove my esophagus. Through the power of God and a dedicated cancer surgical team I can report that I’m 100% free of cancer. When the surgeon, Dr. Thomas DiAmico, released me from his care, four years after the surgery, he used the phrase “cured”.

Fourteen months ago I started back to the sport I love with the goal of running a 5K on my 70th birthday (October 2009) and overcoming nerve and muscle damage from the surgery. To date I’ve run 20 5K’s working my way toward a half-marathon in 2011.

What do you love about running?
The healing of the mind, body and soul that running provides through the fellowship of everyone who hits the ground running.

What’s the funniest or strangest thing that has ever happened to you on a run?
Most people fear coyotes, but in running the canyons in the Santa Monica area I learned they can be as playful as dogs. On my early morning runs up one of my favorite canyons I got to know a coyote that enjoyed playing “hide and seek” up ahead of me. One pitch dark morning, I was running in a new canyon and I heard a “yelp” off to my left where the elevation was about 20” lower than the road. I slowed and stopped suddenly when I saw several shadows cross in front of me. Instinctively, I shouted “get out” and was relieved when I felt they were gone.

On the way back from my run, the sun was coming up over the ridge of the canyon, and there were 5 silhouettes on top of the ridge, one behind the other, like a scene from a Walt Disney movie. I called Animal Control later and asked if any dog packs had been spotted in the canyon and they said they had checked the canyon just days before and there were none. When I told the officer about the coyotes he said it couldn’t have been since coyotes never come that close to humans, particularly with pups. I thanked him for the information and me and the coyotes kept our little secret for the eight years I lived in the area.

Do you lead any Charlotte Running Club group runs? What time?
No, I’m hoping to find one at my pace. (Editor's Note: We're working on this!)

What's your most memorable race and why?
My first marathon in 1976. I ran 3:20 and as many know the emotion was overwhelming.

Favorite Charlotte race?
The Greek Fest and Tyler’s Tree House 5K

Where is your favorite place to run in Charlotte?
The streets and hills of my neighborhood located close to the Harris Y.

Favorite distance? PR?
Presently, the 5K and this trip around my best is 32 +, with hopes of breaking 30:00 and going on to the half marathon.

What’s next on your race calendar?
The Run Ballantyne Y 5K and The Great Harvest Bread 5K

What do you love most about the Charlotte Running Club?
The personal mentoring by CRC member Allen Strickland and his beautiful girlfriend Laura (my step-daughter), and the fact the Club accepts me even though my times are well below any of the other members.

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of BA CRC Members, but this guy takes the cake. Keep running Sir!!