PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – At 75 years young, John Fredrickson has run more than his fair share of full marathons.
He’s run 130 to be exact – that’s more than 3,400 miles.
“It changes over the years because I don’t have that beginner fear or anything like that,” Fredrickson said. “But it’s just the excitement of the people, especially when you have a crowd out there, when you get a really good, nice day.”
Fredrickson is planning to finish No. 131 Sunday. It will be his sixth big race in Pittsburgh.
He has accomplished a lot, and even more inspirational, is why he picked up running in the first place.
In 1984 he was diagnosed with emphysema.
“I couldn’t run half-a-mile and I wouldn’t even call it running,” he said. “I could make it to a half-a-mile is about what it was. And the worst part was when I went skiing in Colorado, I couldn’t breathe up there, so I realized I better do something – something had to happen.”
That something was running. He joined a running club.
“They started talking about marathons and I was like, marathons, are you people crazy?” Fredrickson said with a laugh.
At the age of 53, he finished his first marathon in his hometown of Houston, Texas.
He ran his 100th there as well. And now, although he admits he has slowed down a bit, he has no plans to stop. Even if it means some teasing from supportive friends.
“He comes in first, second, third now in marathons in his age group because of his age group,” said friend DJ Alexander.
He won’t be alone in this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. There are 69 runners registered in the 70 plus category.
Some people might hear this story and say: OK, this guy is 75 and this is his 131st marathon, that’s crazy.
“They are probably right,” says Fredrickson.
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