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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RUPP!
Prescott, Arizona, 21:15EST

How does an active senior citizen like Richard Rupp celebrate his birthday? A rigorous game of shuffleboard? Nah, not active enough. A set of tennis? Nope, still too sedate. How about putting in a 300 mile day in the Race Across America? There you got it!

Day two of this 27th edition of RAAM happens to be Rupp’s 66th birthday. At the 24 hour mark of RAAM he’d surpassed 300 miles since leaving Oceanside, California on Saturday. Not bad for someone born during the Truman administration.

I’d been at the Congress, Arizona Time Station for an hour or so, waiting in the 90 degree heat for his arrival and enjoying the wading pool that the Time Station volunteers had set up. When Rupp arrived, marking his 344th mile, his wife and some of crew were there to greet him with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. Mrs. Rupp, who had been sharing a box of honey buns with the Time Station volunteers, asked her hubby, “Do you want a honey bun?’ “I’ve already got one,” he quipped as he gave her a hug. Yeah, he’s doing alright.

“This is the best way possible! Being in RAAM and this,” he said, gesturing to his feet cooling in the wading pool. I’m having fun, I really am. Even in these conditions. It’s hot and the road is very rough, and these constant gradual hill with false flats, it’s a real test.

Cramps were a concern on day one, “I battled cramps for about 170 miles. My legs thought that they were in charge. But I woke up this morning fine. I’ve been pouring a lot of water into me.

Getting that much sleep this early is unusual for most RAAM competitors. The usual idea of going out hard and long for thirty or forty hours, particularly in weather like this, I’m afraid I’d get burned out and would have a heck of a time getting back. So my goal is to make each day a day that I can do and still have enough left for the next day.”

“He’s behind me and he’s racing me, the old codger! He’s given me a head start so he can try to chase me down. I wish him the best!” Codger? I had to ask, does calling Jones a codger imply that Rupp is not a codger? “I’m past that now,” he quickly replied. “At 66 you’re beyond codger. As of today I’m a geezer!”

Well Mr. Rupp, welcome to geezerhood! I just hope that when I’m an old geezer I have the same enthusiasm and energy.

PHOTO: SWEET RELIEF
Richard Rupp enjoys some much needed R&R, cooling his heels in a wading pool at the Congress, Arizona time station.
 
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