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Running 20 years and still going strong
When a person runs three miles a day, every day, that adds up to a lot of distance and time pounding the pavement. When a person does that for 20 consecutive years the distance covered is truly mind-boggling, not to mention the pairs of running shoes that were worn out.
On Whidbey Island, there is just such a person in Oak Harbor city employee Jim Boer.
For the past 20 years in sickness and in health, in good weather and bad, Boer has been out on the streets around town doing his daily three-mile jaunt.
On Saturday afternoon March 28, the day before the Eighth Annual Whidbey Island Marathon, friends of Oak Harbor’s own “marathon man,” held a surprise get together for him at the El Cazador Restaurant.
Boer, who has worked for Oak Harbor’s parks department for 18 years, is a humble person with not a great deal to say about his running accomplishments.
“I’ve never run a complete Whidbey Island Marathon, but I’ve done a lot of half-marathons over the years,” he said. “Unfortunately, I won’t be competing this year due to an injury.”
Boer didn’t elaborate about the nature of his injury, other than to say it wouldn’t inhibit him from taking his daily three mile runs.
Fellow city employee Keith Jameson was the organizer of Saturday’s get together that included Boer’s wife, Melinda, and daughters, Jeimhel and Janelle, in addition to other city employees and friends, said Boer has had a lot of influence on him over the years and introduced him to running.
“He’s done a lot for me,” Jameson said. “He kind of stuck with me when I first started running and now we’ve done it together for five years.”
Jameson said he could barely make it two miles when he started, but now he and Boer do three-miles runs together every day.
“I’ve lost 50 pounds since I first started running and that has been good for my health,” Jameson said. “Then, about a year after Jim and I began running, Randy Payne, who also works for the city, joined us.”
Boer said he isn’t sure how long he is going to continue his running regimen. “As long as I feel good and still enjoy it,” he said.