Gil Perea initially began running in 1981. At the time, he was living in southern California and working as a barber. After a doctor’s visit, he learned he had developed high blood pressure due in large part to too much cholesterol and not enough exercise. He was in his forties in 1981 and did not consider himself a distance runner. However, it had become apparent to him his body needed a vigorous boost in fitness. After a few short jogs, he decided to commit to the sport of distance running and to lifelong health.

Throughout the eighties, Perea trained for and ran dozens of races. He ran everything from 5Ks to marathons. Perea’s personal best marathon is in the neighborhood of three hours and 15 minutes, and his personal best 10K hovers around 40 minutes.

After retiring from four decades as a barber, he moved to Kanab in 1999. He ran our local 10K that year and hasn’t missed a race since.

Perea trains as consistently as anyone who runs the Kanab 10K. He makes it a priority to run most days of the week and weekends, even if it’s simply a short two to three mile run.

Perea, now 77, without fail dominates his age division and outpaces many runners half his age. However, this is not why Perea runs. He runs to stay healthy and to compete against himself.

All of us should admire and be inspired by Gil. His enthusiasm for challenging himself in races is highly contagious. Perea stresses that no matter what age you are, it is never too late to become healthy and fit.

If you are a strong runner, or if you are a beginner, the Kanab 10K has a place for you. Now is a great time to sign up. The race is set for May 12; more information can be obtained from www.runnercard.com and www.adobefitness.com.