100-Year-Old Man and His Family Run 100 Miles to Celebrate His Birthday
Orville Rogers didn't start running until he was 50.
Five decades later, he's still at it.
The Dallas man turned 100 Tuesday and has been celebrating for days, he told InsideEdition.com Wednesday. "I've been besieged today and I'm enjoying it."
The high point of his milestone was a run with his entire family, which spans four generations. The group of 34 covered a combined total of 100 miles, with Rogers joining on the last one.
"I can't describe it," he replied when asked how he felt afterward, surrounded by those he loves. "I've been on a high now for quite some time. I've had about six or seven birthday cakes. I have one more party today and two more tomorrow."
And his phone just keeps ringing with well-wishes from people across the country.
The World War II veteran was already a little famous, having earned 16 age-related race titles. He even has a Wikipedia page.
But Rogers had never run a day in his life until he turned 50, when he read Dr. Kenneth Cooper's best-seller Aerobics.
In the book, Dr. Cooper introduced a six-point plan for living longer by exercising, eating well, avoiding smoking, managing stress and getting yearly physical exams.
Rogers began running the day after he finished the book.
"Exercise is good for a good life and a long life," he said.
He started with a few miles a day, a few times a week. He added speed and distance over a period of years, and began competing in marathons. When he ran his last marathon at age 72, he was racking up 75 to 80 miles a week, he said.
"I can't do that anymore," he said, laughing. He now runs three days a week, covering about two and a half miles during each outing.
"I'm trying to hang in there," he says. "Life is good. I tell people I live life with a capital L."
His life has certainly been an interesting one.
He joined the Army Air Corps five weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor and was trained as a pilot. He served in World War II without ever leaving the country, he said.
"I never got outside the United States," he said. "I was training other students to fly."
He was recalled for the Korean conflict, and while stationed in Fort Worth, he learned to fly the massive B36 "Peacemaker," a strategic bomber built to carry nuclear weapons. It was capable of international flight without refueling.
He also led a select crew within the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War.
"My crew was prepared to drop an atom bomb on the north side of Moscow if war had been declared," he said. "I'm very happy that didn't happen."
He later flew for Braniff until the airline went bankrupt in 1982.
He and his wife, Esther Beth, had four children and were married from 1943 until her death in 2008.
They lost a son, Curtis, in the Vietnam War. "He was flying helicopters in South Vietnam," Rogers said.
He has 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
The secret to living a long life, he says, is firmly rooted in "my relationship with God," he said, adding, "I try to eat good food... and exercise. People who exercise live better and live longer."