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Running in the family: 4 generations to race together at Gasparilla Distance Classic

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This weekend, tens of thousands of people will line up for the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic races. More than two dozen of those people will be there to celebrate their Grandpa Joe.

Joe Conrad, a life-long runner, is 90 years old.

“I started in high school, and then I went to college and my first year, I ran. I had to quit because it was interfering with my studies. I didn’t start running again until about 1979,” he recalled.

Joe has been running ever since.

He and his son, John, have been racing together in the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic since 1986.

Joe and John Conrad look at past Gasparilla race photos.

“I thought it would be a good idea since he’s 90 to celebrate his interest in the run with family members, so I reached out to the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren. I said we’re doing the run, do you want to join us,” John Conrad explained.

They all said yes, and will be traveling in from across the Southeast. Four generations of Conrads, from 18 months to 90 years old, will tackle the 5K race together in matching shirts Saturday morning.

At 90 years old, Joe still participates in road races and triathlons.

“What I do now is jog and walk a little bit, and being a Type A personality, it bothers me to no end,” he joked.

Joe still vividly remembers his best race, the Gasparilla 15K (9.3 miles). He finished in 1:06:20.

“My goal time now is just to finish,” he said.

His son John knows this will be a special day for his whole family.

“When you get older, you start looking back at what’s important, and I think the older even the grandchildren get, family becomes more important to them,” John said.

“All of them love me, or they say they do,” Joe said, laughing. “I’m very fortunate. I’ve been blessed with good children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, I don’t ask for anything more.”

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