1st Gate River Run winner talks about race's popularity

Bill Rodgers won Gate River Run in 1978

Published On: Mar 09 2013 08:41:40 AM EST   Updated On: Mar 09 2013 10:00:00 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -

As thousands of runners picked up their packets and shirts at the Runners Expo, they had the chance to meet a legend in the running community.

"There were no where near as many women runners, no prize money. The race was much smaller. It was still exciting. It's a very exciting course" said Bill Rodgers who won the Gate River Run in 1978.

Rodgers was also the only American to win both the Boston and New York City marathons 4 times each. He ranks this race win as one of his greatest and loves to see how the race has grown over 35 years.

"When you become a walker, a runner, it's a lifetime sport. This is how we can beat diseases like heart disease and diabetes" said Rodgers.

Rodgers signed autographs for the runners on their race numbers, shirts, and some on his book, 'The Idiots Guide to Running'. For people just starting out, he recommends joining a running club locally to stay motivated, which is something he has managed to do since he was in his prime.


"I ran 130 miles a week. I ran twice a day. These top young runners are doing the same thing. Now I run 30 miles a week, 40 miles a week. I can't train that hard. I'm 65 years old."

There is more than $82,000 in prize money on the table for this years Gate River Run which benefits 14 charities.