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Day: July 14, 2015

Keizer senior wins Masters high jump

Jim Kesey, 75, recently won the high jump event at the Portland Masters Classic and took second in the 100 meter. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Jim Kesey, 75, recently won the high jump event at the Portland Masters Classic and took second in the 100 meter. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

At 75, Keizerite Jim Kesey is performing feats of athletic prowess when others his age would be more worried about falling and breaking a hip.

“All my friends think I’m nuts because I work hard every day as much as I can,” said Kesey.

In June, Kesey took part in the Portland Masters Classic track and field meet and took first place in the high jump clearing 3-foot-8 and second in the 100 meter with a time of 16.25 seconds.

“I was running like hell. I knew I would be up there, but I had no idea all these other guys who were nationally ranked would be coming out of the woodwork,” Kesey said.

Kesey, who was a hurdler in college for Colorado State University, shows little sign of slowing down. When he ran the same 100 meter race a few years back his time was 16.22.

As recently as last year, Kesey was ranked nationally in the 55 meter sprint with a time of 9.9 seconds and long jump with a mark of 10-foot-10. A sprained Achilles tendon and timing of the events were the only things that kept him from attempting the long jump at the Portland Masters. After missing the long jump he decided to give the high jump a try on a lark. He hadn’t participated in that event since high school.

“It was a kick to do then and a kick to do it now,” he said.

There are several factors that have kept Kesey from hanging up his track shoes, but the competition itself is primary.

“I don’t like working out without having a goal and something to shoot for. If I didn’t compete, I would have to have some other way to be active,” Kesey said. He added joining the Courthouse Athletic Club after moving to Keizer last year probably made a large impact on his performance this year.

“I do interval training and I kayak and hike, but it’s also a bit of a pride thing.” Kesey said.

Kesey is a veteran of the Marine Corps and said having maintaining his posture and health is something of a holdover from his days as a serviceman.

“If you want to stay healthy, you have to be healthy. I drink beer, I eat whatever I want, but I don’t eat a lot. I just do it in small portions,” he said.