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Everyday athlete

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» John Simonds
» Aina Haina
» Runner
» Workout:
60- to 105-minute runs 3 times a week, increasing as longer races near; daily calisthenics and isometrics

Like a youngster who grows up near a baseball stadium and dreams of playing in the big leagues some day, John Simonds was fascinated by the Honolulu Marathon that came through his Aina Haina neighborhood every year.

"It was something I wanted to do when I grew up," said the 75-year-old Simonds, who was in his 50s when he began jogging. "I ran shorter races, 5Ks, 10Ks and, after 4-5 years, I thought about doing the marathon."

In 1995, at age 60, Simonds grew up. He completed his first 26.2-mile race and — except for a broken ankle in ’03 — hasn’t missed the Honolulu Marathon since.

The retired newspaperman, who worked at both the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser, nearly did his first marathon in 1994. He signed up without telling his family, ran the first 13 miles but "I got to the halfway, which was by my house, and I didn’t feel like I could finish," he said. "So I went home, said to my wife, ‘Guess what I just did; the first half of the marathon.’ She said, ‘Why don’t you go back and do the second half?’"

Simonds did … 12 months later.

He’s been training the past 15 years with Brian Clarke’s running group. (Clarke developed the Honolulu Marathon Association’s Advanced Running Program).

Sunday’s Senior Olympics 10K at Kapiolani Park is next on his race schedule. The countdown has begun to the Honolulu Marathon, his 15th and "all after the age of 60," he says.

 

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