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Fit Folks: Jim Southard runs races at 89

Pam LeBlanc
Jim Southard

Jim Southard, 89

I began running at age 45 to relieve stress. It seemed to help, so I kept at it. It’s part of my regimen. I get up before 5 a.m., drink some New Orleans coffee, do floor exercises and then run or walk laps on the O. Henry Middle School track. I’ve been doing this almost daily for the last 45 years. For me, it’s a way to survive. Diet? I cook for myself, and it’s pretty basic. My routine: After a morning workout, I visit the library, sometimes nap, have a drink at 5 p.m. and a light supper while watching TV news. Austin is a great running community, thanks in large part to RunTex’s Paul Carrozza. I’ve done many races, but in recent years have cut back to a half dozen of my favorites, such as the American-Statesman Capitol 10,000 and ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot. For someone with no special talent, I’ve done OK. I’ve won my age division in 14 Cap10Ks and lately have been the oldest entrant. I believe the key to fitness is effort and perserverence. But isn’t that true of most everything?

We’re looking for Central Texans who keep fit with interesting activities. Tell us — in 100 words or fewer — about yours. If you have a photograph, include that as well. Send your name, age and contact information to Pam LeBlanc, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave., Austin TX 78704 or e-mail it to