LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – 72-year-old Joe Edgecombe from Panama City is currently training to run in the Denali 135, which is a 135-mile endurance race in Alaska.
“You have about 20 miles on a paved road and the rest will be on gravel road and you are required to have a vehicle stay with you because you are out in the wild and there is bears and wolves and things, it’s late spring, they are hungry so you want to be prepared,” Edgecombe said.
Edgecombe is the oldest person participating in the race and said it was honestly a spur of the moment decision to sign up for it.
“I like doing long stuff and kinda crazy things, I saw this come up and thought in the back of my mind, my philosophy in life is dare to dream big and if you can dream it you can do it,” Edgecombe said.
Edgecombe has been training for months for this race and while this may be his first 135 mile run, it’s not his first long distance race.
“What you are doing is you want to train on tired legs so I’ll do long runs back to back, so you are fatigued and if you can function being tired, then you are able to keep on going, that’s the theory anyway,” Edgecombe said.
Edgecombe said he couldn’t do it without all the communities support.
“I have people, not just club members, but people come out and say okay I’ll go run 10 miles with you, and that keeps me going. I can run by myself but it’s nice having someone just to accompany you,” Edgecombe said.
There’s wild animals on the trail and changing temperatures while going up the mountain, but none of that is worrying Edgecombe.
He has just one goal in mind and it’s simple.
“My goal is to finish and to prove that age is a number like I said being older than everyone else, I just want to get that f, that finish,” Edgecombe said.
The Denali 135 will take place on June 20th, the Summer Solstice. Edgecombe has 48 hours to complete the race and will be with some of his family and friends from Panama City while he competes in it.