Hoover resident oldest runner to race Mercedes Marathon weekend

Hoover resident oldest runner to race Mercedes Marathon weekend

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - James Mersmann has a resting heart rate of 38 and has run thousands of thousands of miles in his lifetime and on Sunday, he'll gear up for the Mercedes Marathon Relay, with a new title.

His passion for running all started in 1973.

"Running is exhilarating and it does create a runners high if you run enough miles and it's also addictive," Mersmann said.

From Huntsville to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Mersmann has run several marathons across the world, and on Sunday for the Mercedes Marathon, he'll lace up as the oldest runner in the race at age 79.

"I consider it a great blessing. I'm grateful for my health, and good genetics, good family and good support," Mersmann added.

"I get teary eyed sometimes thinking about some of the things people are accomplishing at different ages, I want to be like him when I'm 79, I truly do," said Mercedes Marathon Race Director Valerie Cuddy.

Mersmann says his secret to running at his age is being able to run with his family. Their annual tradition? run the Mercedes Marathon Relay.

"They tolerate me being the slowest leg on the relay team and I'm getting slower every year, but I'm still there," Mersmann said laughing.

Mersmann's training schedule consists of running three miles every other day on a cross-country trail he made in his backyard.

"The loops is about a quarter of a mile long and I run 12 loops every other day," Mersmann said.

Mercedes Marathon weekend will kickoff Saturday with the Super Hero 5K, and the Children's Marathon followed by the Half-Marathon and Full Marathon on Sunday. Registration ends Tuesday night at midnight.

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