Foster takes up running to improve health

| July 17, 2018

Denny Foster is pictured with his dog Harley in front of some of his running memorabilia. Foster picked up running to help him lose weight, but he first started his workout routine by taking Harley for walks. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Denny Foster never intended to become a runner, but he’s glad he started working on the hobby at the age of 62.

“I didn’t want to run,” he said. “I never liked it, but when I sold my house in Dresden and my kids helped me move I couldn’t help them. I felt really bad about that. I was up to 388 pounds and decided I needed to do something about that.”

Foster started changing the way he was eating and began walking with his dog Harley.

“We couldn’t walk a block at first,” he said.

Foster didn’t give up though. He and Harley walked around their neighborhood and at the park and then he eventually added a treadmill to his routine.

“I got to where I could do three miles on that,” Foster said. “I got excited because I realized that was a 5K.”

Around that time his sister and sister-in-law were both diagnosed with breast cancer, which spurred Foster to sign up in 2014 for the Komen Race for the Cure in Columbus.

“My goal was to run the whole thing,” he said. “I figured it was the least I could do with what they were going through. I ended up running the whole thing, but I wasn’t the fastest. It made me feel good to do it though.”

Since then, Foster tries to run at least five days a week and has participated in numerous races in Ohio and in Coshocton. He also has added strength training to his routine.

Foster now has his sights set on competing with his niece in the Hot Chocolate 5K, which will be held this November in Columbus. Helping him train for the event will be Gwenna Neal, who coaches cross country at River View High and helped him early in his running career.

“I’ve gotten to connect with runners in the community and they are all awesome,” Foster said. “When I did the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon, my friends Bruce (Gault) and Aimee (Neighbor) ran it with me and we did it in honor of my brother who had shot himself. The River View cross country team also sent me a card when that happened.”

He has memorabilia from that race and several others hung up in his home and the display includes a tomahawk from Coshocton’s Indian Mud Run.

“I ran it three years and got that tomahawk when I won second place in my age group,” Foster said.

He may be 66, but he still tries to run 16 to 18 races a year and would one day like to run a marathon.

“I had been diagnosed with COPD and high blood pressure and was in and out of the hospital,” Foster said. “I have no signs of COPD now and am enjoying life a lot better. A lot of people think they can’t run, but you just have to take one step and then two. It’s amazing what you can do.”

He still isn’t a huge fan of running, but there is something about the activity that just draws him in.

“I still hate running, but once I got my first medal I couldn’t quit,” he said. “I like the bling.”


Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments are closed.