Ripley resident to run in 1st N&S Half Saturday

Mike Smith, 61, of Ripley, W.Va., will run in his first Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon Saturday. RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

PARKERSBURG — When Mike Smith turned 60 last year, his wife Karen signed him up for a run.

“And it happened to be a half marathon trail run,” recalled the 61-year-old runner before the start of the Aug. 6 Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon training session (7 miles) at City Park.

Smith, who will be running in his first N&S Half Saturday, chuckled.

“I wasn’t prepared for (Harbins),” he said. “But I’m a little bit more prepared now for this run in Parkersburg.”

Smith completed the 2017 Harbins Park Half Marathon Trail Run in Dacula, Ga., in a time of 2 hours, 38.28 minutes.

“I was pretty wore out after Harbins,” Smith said. “The first six miles were switchback trails uphill. And then you get a little downhill. It was fun, though.”

Born and raised in central Florida, Smith and his wife lived in Georgia for a spell before settling in Ripley, W.Va., in Jackson County last year.

“We moved up here to take care of my 85-year-old mother-in-law,” Smith said. “My wife is from Ripley.”

Smith paused.

“I started running two years ago this month, because I knew we were moving up here and they don’t have a bowling alley (Smith said his bowling average is around 200.) close to me in Ripley,” he said. “So, I took up running, and I love it. I’m back into a 30-inch waist.”

Smith said he is looking forward to a good time in Parkersburg this coming Saturday.

“I’m thankful for my health,” he said. “I’ve always been into fitness.

“I’m not fast but I’m figuring on maybe 2:15. That’s what I’m hoping for. We’ll see. It’s a long ways (13.1 miles) and I think a big part is the nutritional part of it and trying not to hit a wall. I guess they call it bonking.”

In a “tune-up race” last month, Smith competed in the Rick Brown Memorial 8K Run and Walk in Marietta. He covered the 5-mile distance in 44:21.57, and finished third in his age group (60-64).

Smith’s first N&S Half will also serve as a kind of “training run” for next year’s Marine Corps Marathon (26.1 miles) in Washington, D.C.

“When my youngest son gets back from the Persian Gulf, we’re going to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon,” Smith said. “That’s the plan.”