Live, Love, Run

By Allison Marlow
Posted 8/15/17

George Freeman says there is indeed a secret to life and longevity: running.

It’s also his best remedy for answering a tough question.

“When you’ve got a problem on your hands and …

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Live, Love, Run

Posted

George Freeman says there is indeed a secret to life and longevity: running.

It’s also his best remedy for answering a tough question.

“When you’ve got a problem on your hands and you’ve got to find the solution or do some thinking, nine times out of ten you can figure it out after a run,” says the 86-year-old athlete from Foley.

It doesn’t hurt to win a few medals when you finish either.

Freeman has earned dozens of medals from races across the United States, including six turns at the Boston Marathon. This summer he returned from his 15th visit to the National Senior Games where Freeman was just one of eight athletes to have attended all of the bi-annual games.

“I’ve been to all of them, 30 years of my life,” Freeman says. “The next one is in New Mexico in 2019. I’ve never been there but I sure plan on going.”

And in 2019, Freeman is returning to the games as a runner. In this summer’s games, he opted to bowl. He left without a win.

“My feet were sticky. For some reason I picked up enough resistance that I couldn’t slide. That’s my alibi,” he says with a laugh.

Freeman began running in college. He continued daily runs even while working as a high school guidance counselor and managing a beef farm in New York. Freeman often ran with the high school sports teams he coached.

He helped grow his school’s cross country team from eight boys to 50 boys and girls. He coached girls’ basketball before game rules allowed those players to cross the half court line. He is pleased to see girls’ sports grow and prosper.

He raised his own daughter to become a marathon runner. She teaches in Michigan and encourages her students to be active. Every month she chooses a student of the month to receive one of the hundreds of medals her father has earned on the track. The students write him letters of thanks, and admiration.

“I love to run. That’s me,” he says. “It keeps the weight down. I don’t have any disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.”

Freeman comes from a family of seven children. Four are still living, though he says two of his siblings are in bad shape with arthritis and other ailments. Freeman says his daily runs have kept him disease-free.

“Two years ago I had arthritis on my knee but I kept on running it and it got better,” he says.

If the sun is up, and the weather is favorable, chances are Freeman is already out on the track or the golf course. He encourages everyone he meets to get out and exercise.

“Take it easy early on, get into the habit,” he says. “Fitness is a lifetime adventure. Once you get into it, you will enjoy the rest of your life.”

And, you might win a few medals along the way too.

Freeman says as he ages, more and more baby boomers, including former Olympians, enter the National Senior Games. This year a 104-year-old man entered the races.

Some years, the competition is tough. Others, time catches up with the group of athletes.

“The older we get the easier it gets,” he says with a mischievous smile. “The competition all start dying off.”