Last fall Bill Warner of Beckley was running through the woods of Thurmond when suddenly he noticed “a big ole black bear” just 10-12 feet away.
“I set a new age group record that day,” he laughs.
Bill is 60 years old and an ultra – marathoner – running up to 50-mile races – and winning!
Just this year he won first place in his age group against 118 runners at the USA 25k Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Then there was the Chicago Marathon where Bill placed first in his age group of 510 runners, and 769th out of the total 38, 871 runners.
He’s also repeatedly placed first in his age group in the Charleston Distance Run.
“I have this thing that I will allow no one with gray hair to beat me,” Bill explained with a smile.
But those are road races and Bill prefers to run on trails, saying the trail runner must constantly be thinking about his next step or else he’ll end up “eating dirt.”
One of the things that’s so remarkable about this extreme athlete is that he’s only been running for 6 years – after a 33 year hiatus.
Bill is a recovering alcoholic, sober now for about 10 years.
“I got tired of that life and quite honestly I got on my knees and I turned it over,” he said.
“Life is too precious to waste.”
So Bill runs almost every day now, even in the snow, by himself or with family members and his dogs.
He battled a lung infection that required major surgery 2 years ago, but came back stronger and remarkably, even faster!
“God gave me a gift, and I’m simply using that gift to his glory.”