Just a few months ago, Wayne Aguren joked that he couldn’t run a half-marathon “if my life depended on it.”
But the 74-year-old Oak Lawn resident who trains with morning jogs on the Katy Trail recently decided to “take the plunge” when he registered to run half of this Sunday’s metroPCS Dallas Marathon. He’s one of an estimated 20,000 runners gearing up for the annual event, which includes a course that slices through the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas campus.
I first talked to Aguren days after he ran in the DHWI Healthy Harvest Fun Walk/5K Run in South Dallas. The Oak Lawn resident was one of the more, well, seasoned participants among the roughly 1,000 people who were there on October 25. He stood out to some of the event organizers because he was in such impressive shape for his age.
“I’m kind of a health freak,” Aguren told me. “I try very hard to be careful about what I put in my body.”
He’s always been a jogger, but it’s been more than 30 years since Aguren last ran a marathon. Originally, his plan was to train for several months leading up to a Nashville half-marathon in April that he plans to run with some family members. Earlier this year, he was browsing the Internet in search of a local race to help him prepare.
“I decided I had to challenge myself because I’m kind of living in this fantasy land of getting back into being a serious runner,” Aguren said.
He found the run put on by the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center, an affiliate of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor Scott & White Health.
The turnout at the DHWI race was better than he expected, he said, and it was a good warm-up for what was to come later.
“It’s quite clear that Baylor Scott and White understands ways to reverse the commonality of Type 2 Diabetes, but it’s just getting people to get on board with it, that’s the challenge,” Aguren said. “The solution is so simple if people would just do it.”
Aguren claimed that he ran an “awful” time of more than a 10-minute mile (which doesn’t sound all that bad to me) and that he intended to work on picking it up in the coming months.
For Aguren, who works for Dell Services, it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle that he has re-dedicated himself to in recent years. He’s been a vegan for five years, he said, and he preaches healthy eating habits to his friends and family.
“I try very hard to be careful about what I put in my body,” Aguren said. “I try to eat a lot of salads and all that good stuff … I always valued the benefit of exercise and, particularly as you get older, that’s more and more important. The older you get, the more you need exercise to keep from decaying.”
On Sunday morning, a few months earlier than he originally planned, Aguren will take another big step on his journey to maintain good health.