My View

A mid-life start to running paid off with friends and healthier lifestyle

charles clines

This is not necessarily a permanent goodbye, but my contributions will be limited in the future. I started this site in 2006 and turned it over to HB Wise almost two years ago. During the time I was mainly the only “employee” I have enjoyed trying to bring more coverage to road races in the DFW area. But with grandkids taking up much of my weekends, I have to start devoting more time being a spectator at their endeavors. That’s the main reason, I am limiting my contributions.

I’ve been running for about 45 years. Included in those years was covering DFW races for the Star-Telegram and writing a running column. I have met numerous local and elite runners during that time, including covering the Boston Marathon twice and the New York Marathon once. I also was among the masses for the 100th Boston. That definitely is one of my running highlights, along with running (sort of) the Dublin and Honolulu Marathons. However, my best time-wise moments came at the Cowtown Marathon.

I also met many elite runners when Cowtown would bring in running celebrities to run, usually the 10K. They included Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Overall, though, the most fun I’ve had during the years was after I reached mid- and late 40s and early 50s. I was running some of my best times and had some friendly competition in my age divisions. There weren’t as many events then and it seemed that most of the same competitors were at the same races. And I was a member of the Fort Worth Runners Club for several years, and still might return when I increase my jogging, and the smaller, but fun, Mid-Cities Running Club. There were no membership fees; just show up, pay a small fee and run. Distances were from five to 20 miles through neighborhoods. Sometimes it was a little difficult to see the arrows and runners would get lost. I think everyone eventually made it back to L.D. Bell High School, where we started and finished.

When I first started “running” I was 40. I am about 5-11 and weighed 175. After several months of running and altering my diet, I was down to 155….new wardrobe. I looked emaciated and had executive at S-T if I were all right. I had to explain why I looked so gaunt. Eventually, I started looking somewhat normal and gained back to 160. The reason I started trying to take better care of myself was because my dad died at 51 (he was a smoker) and an uncle died at 48 (another smoker). My aunts had much longer lives.

I ran the first (now defunct) Dallas Trails Marathon, which also happened to be my first. I ran it a week after doing the Cross Timbers 18-mile trail run at Lake Texoma (that distance since has been replaced). It had rained the night before, which made for some slippery moments – I fell down five times, bonked my head once on an overhanging tree limb, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I tried almost every training plan that Runners World published, and discovered the best results I got were from hill training, track repeats, tempo runs and slow, long distance runs. I did most of these by time and not by distance, most of the time. But I knew my paces very well then and never was too far off.T

Charles Clines' bio

I don't remember ever not being active. When living in Vernon, a small town south of Wichita Falls where I was born, I and my friends were always playing some game in the yards and riding bicycles everywhere. After moving to Wichita Falls when I was 10, I played kid baseball (actually threw a perfect game and a few no-hitters) and took up golf when I was 14. When in junior high, I began playing football and continued at Wichita Falls High School, When I was a second-string offensive and defensive end, we won the 1958 4A state championship (the highest division at that time), and was runner-up in '59 when I was first string (though a knee injury limited my playing for a few games). One of my best memories was when we played 3A defending champion Breckenridge and battled to a 14-14 tie. The Breckenridge coach was Emery Bellard, who had devised the triple-option and went on to coach at Texas A&M. I played every down in that game – offense, defense, kickoffs. I was extremely happy when the clock ended the game and a Breckenridge drive into our end of the field. If one more play had come my way, I'm not sure I would have had the energy to stop it. I had hit the wall and didn't know what that really was until I ran my first marathon.

I continued playing golf, was a club pro for two years, and became sports editor at the Denton Record-Chronicle after I figured I wasn't going to be good enough for the PGA Tour. I had honed my newspaper skills with part-time work in the summers at the Wichita Falls Record-News, where my father was city editor.

After moving to Fort Worth in 1968 to work for the Star-Telegram, I continued to play golf and dropped my handicap to a 4. I didn't begin running until I was 40, and that mainly was for health reasons. My dad and an uncle died young, and I was trying to extend my lifespan as much as possible. I also changed my eating habits,. During the first year of running, my weight dropped from 175 to 155. Some of my friends were worried that I was sick. I might have been because I almost quit playing golf so I couild concentrate on running.

My first race was the Cowtown 10K. Among my running highlights included breaking four hours in the Cowtown Marathon (3:58), running in the 100th Boston Marathon, though hampered by a hip injury, running the Dublin Marathon with a group of Arthritis Foundation runners/walkers that I had trained. I also covered the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon for the S-T. Another fun series was the Luke's Challenge. I believe the Challenge consisted of eight races and points were awarded for a runner's finish at each race. An awards party was held after the final race.

I began losing my age division competitive edge after a knee operation (torn meniscus) when I was 62. Also, I' had three stents in 2006, but have continued to jog.

I and my wife Leslie have enjoyed our three boys and one girl, and now are enjoying doing as much as possible with six grandkids and two dogs.