86-year-old Ider woman loves running 5K races

IDER, Ala. - George Jones sang about not needing a rocking chair. Neither do Clyde and Imogene Greene. Their children gave them two rocking chairs 10 years ago. They’re on the couple’s front porch in Ider, but Clyde and Imogene never use them. They don’t have time to sit around.

The DeKalb County couple just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. When they first met, she was 16. He'd just come home from the Navy. It was love at first sight. “Pretty much so,” said Clyde. Imogene added, “Must have been because I didn't ever date anybody else, and I think he did a few times but that was okay too.” Clyde finished by saying, “Clyde Greene: But back then I had hair and teeth and all that stuff that I don't have now.” He laughed.

Ider woman

Imogene Greene finishes a recent 5K race.

Clyde is 91. Imogene is 86. They’ve got a lot of road yet to travel. “I'm a runner. Uh yeah, I'm a runner,” Imogene proudly said. As in a 5K race! “I don’t walk. I run,” she said. It started last year. “I decided I might as well join the crowd,” Imogene told me. “I had done one 5K but I walked every step of the way on it.”

So at 85, she trained with other church members at Ider Baptist three days a week for three months. “And I felt pretty comfortable that I could get across the finish line anyway,” she said. I asked her what in the world made her decide to start running at 85? “I have no idea. I just did,” she said. “It's like I do a lot of other stuff, I just decided I wanted to do it and I do it.”

In her first 5K, Imogene ran and walked the 3.1 miles in 46 minutes. That's her personal best. She's run nine 5K's now, the latest in the Alabama August heat. “I didn't do too good on it. It was 52 or 53 minutes I believe,” Imogene told me. When I looked at her and told her she was slowing down, she smiled and said, “Yeah, sure am.” She added, “I'm never last though.”

Clyde’s not a runner. “I walk,” he said followed with a laugh. “I walked with them when they were training out there but that's it.” But come race day, he grabs a seat and goes with his wife. He’s her biggest fan! “I’m sitting in a chair watching her,” he said. Clyde’s there from the time Imogene takes off until she finishes the race. And each time, he looks at his bride and wishes her good luck. He’s still a winner though, proudly saying, “I've got the best woman that God ever made.” No doubt, their biggest victory will always be winning the other's heart.