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At 84, Myra Rhodes is crushing the south metro running competition in her age bracket.
On May 20, she strode into first place in her 70- to 99-year-old division at the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District's High Line Canal 5K Race, finishing in 38 minutes and 33 seconds.
This is not Myra’s first win.
According to her son, Lee Rhodes, 61, she set two national records when she was in the 50s age group.
“If she wins, you’d never know it,” Lee said. “She doesn’t gloat and she is very humble.”
Previously a tennis player, Myra, a Centennial resident, started running when her husband joined a running club. She hit the running trail and never looked back. Myra has run 35 marathons since she started running 40 years ago. She has also completed several 50k races and a few 50-mile races.
“My first marathon, I was 56,” Myra said. “I just started doing these races. My husband ran too, so we kept each other going.”
Lee believes that Myra’s diligence and persistence in the sport of running comes from the way she grew up.
“It really is a generational thing,” Lee said. “Younger folks today don’t seem to have that sense of urgency. They have too much entitlement. My parents had to work for everything they got. They had a very solid work ethic.”
Turning 85 in July, Myra is still running. She has hardly slowed down despite a serious injury.
Years ago, Myra had a goal to run a marathon when she was 80. But, while on the drive to the St. George Marathon, Myra got in a car accident and injured her neck.
Myra got back on the running trail as soon as she could.
“They had to put three screws into my neck, I was in such good shape that they were surprised how quick my recovery was,” Myra said. “I couldn’t get back into running as much as I had been, so I had to settle for doing half (marathons).”
Myra’s love of running may be genetic; the two generations after her are also accomplished athletes.
One of her sons is a semi-professional tennis player, her daughter is on the United States National Team for mountain bike racing and Lee is a dedicated cyclist.
In 1995, Lee and Myra ran the New York Marathon together. They crossed the finish line holding hands.
Myra recently ran a half marathon from Georgetown to Idaho Springs with her 10-year-old grandson, Kyle Rhodes.
“She started us out when we were young in sports,” Lee said. “We basically made it into a lifestyle.”
Running competitive marathons around the world, notably the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon, Myra is well-known in the running world. Her family and fellow runners see her as a role model.
“She has just been inspirational in life,” Lee said. “I wanted to impress her because she was so impressive. She is just really special.”
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