BEEVILLE – For some, the image conjured up when people thought about men reaching their 70s included a rocking chair and a slower pace.
Not for Henry Juarez Medina.
The 77-year-old Beeville native often can be seen running down the streets of Corpus Christi where he now lives and works. Medina also is a marathon runner, having competed in December in the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Marathon, where he finished the 26.2-mile course with a time of 7:08:51.
Staying active has been Medina’s lifestyle for decades.
“I was an athlete in high school,” he said. “I graduated in 1961 and went into the military, where you have to be in shape. Then I got out in 1967 and gained some weight.
“I started running in 1972, and I couldn’t even run a block. Then one block turned into two, and I kept going from there.”
After his stint in the U.S. Air Force, Medina earned an accounting degree and then went to work in the banking sector. That journey took him from the former San Antonio Savings and Loan in Beeville to his current job at Merrill Lynch in Corpus Christi.
But Medina kept up with his jogging, and in 2014, he ran his first Rock n’ Roll Marathon. Two years later, Medina competed in the Beach to Bay Marathon in Corpus Christi.
And staying motivated equals staying moving.
“You’ve been doing it for so long that you kind of get into the habit of running,” he said. “It keeps you young. It keeps you fit. It clears the mind.
“I’m just trying to stay active and keep limber so my body doesn’t tighten up.”
Running a marathon is a lot different than jogging around town.
“Once you hit the 20th mile, you hit a wall,” Medina said. “You just have to be motivated to finish.”
Part of the reason why Medina stays active is he wants to demonstrate to his children and grandchildren that it is never too late to stay in shape. This is wisdom imparted to him from the previous generation.
“My mom is 95, and she lives in Beeville,” Medina said. “She still mows the yard.”
As far as advice, Medina urges people to take care of their bodies by getting their medical checkups such as yearly physical exams, stress tests and colonoscopies.
“It’s just a fact that if you don’t stay in shape, you tend to gain weight. And if you gain weight, it leads to all kinds of problems like heart attack, diabetes and stroke,” he said. “You’ve got to eat the right foods, not the fatty stuff, and you’ve got to exercise.”
There is perhaps an even greater reason for Medina to stay healthy in his later years.
“I got some grandkids,” he said. “I want to be around for my grandkids.”
William J. Gibbs Jr. is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.