PARKERSBURG - Running is a passion and a lifetime commitment for a lot of people, but don't put Washington County resident Dave Cox into that category.
Cox, who is from England and has lived in the Mid-Ohio Valley for a half dozen years, decided he would enter the 26th running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Saturday, Aug. 18, to see how we would do at the age of 50.
Although Cox, a former three-year semipro rugby player when he lived across the pond, has participated in half marathons and marathons before he said this would be his first time to run here in Parkersburg.
Washington County resident Dave Cox is an experienced marathon and half marathon competitior.
An employee at Steers Heating and Cooling, which paid his way into the half marathon and also got him a custom shirt for the race, Cox knows all about the 13.1-mile course, but has not actually ran it himself while training.
"I'm a treadmill trainer," admitted Cox, who said he used to get in shape for rugby season by running half marathons "to get my fitness up to standard. I did the Flora London Marathon in 2004 for my 40th birthday.
"It was the only time I had ever run that and it's a milestone in your life. I'll do the News and Sentinel Half Marathon for my 50th birthday and have a little fun at the same time with my bet."
Cox isn't expecting to necessarily contend for a spot as a top finisher in the grandmasters division, but he's hoping to clock in somewhere around one hour and 40 minutes or so.
While he's been running 8-minute miles on the treadmill, he knows the race itself and running in whatever elements Mother Nature decides to dish out could vary his time. That makes it all the better for his little bet.
"I'm going to have a little bet, a gamble, and everyone puts two dollars in the hat and they are going to guess my time. The closest one to my time wins it all," he quipped.
"This is going to be a fun half marathon for me to just see if my body can take it anymore. After I started training at the gym (last year) I thought I might as well apply myself and do it and (deciding to run in the half marathon) was in the spirit of the moment."
Cox understands the journey to the finish line on Market Street is likely to take a toll on his mind and body, but he's hoping to have cheering fans and family members there, including his wife Helen.
"Hopefully my wife will be there and my sister and brother-in-law along with a cold drink or two," Cox added. "Hopefully, I can do it.
"That's the only thing. Obviously, my company has sponsored me and gotten a special T-shirt and people will have a couple of dollar bets on me so I have to finish the race."
As a first-time runner of this half marathon Cox said he hasn't really sought out any specific advice for the race, but he's well aware of the rolling hills and the steep inclines he will have to traverse along the way to the finish line.
"I've drove around the course," he said, noting he's only talked to some of his fellow colleagues at work and none of them are runners.
No matter where he finishes in his age group, Cox knows just crossing the finish line is going to be victory enough in the end.
"I'm not out there to win medals. I'm out there to just participate," Cox stated. "If you haven't run the most exhilarating thing you can do is cross that finish line with the crowd yelling and everything."