INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - There are plenty of first timers running and walking in the 2013 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Among them is Indianapolis native Ken Kennipe.
Ken is actually very familiar with the Mini. After more than a decade of volunteering he decided to lace up his shoes and hit the pavement.
And there's something else that makes this story even more unusual.
Ken Kenipe's feet are familiar with the pavement outside his southeast side Indianapolis home.
"I walk at least a mile and a half, every day, well, five days a week. And I walk at about a 4 mile an hour clip so I walk pretty fast," says Kenipe.
But his mementos of the Mini and the month of May come from volunteering — something he's been doing since 1995. This year however, he is one of the 30,000 plus people in the starting chutes at the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.
"I just decided to do it for myself. I'm not trying to prove anything," he says.
Oh and by the way, there's something else about Ken he wants you to know.
"I'm 81," he says with a smile.
He is 81 and has been married for 62 years to his wife Joan, in the house the two have called home since 1968.
After retiring from his job as an Industrial engineer in 1993, Ken began volunteering. And after all those years stationed at the finish line, Ken knows how the mini marathon works. Unexpectedly he says, he figured it was time to see it from the other side.
"I never thought much about that until last year. And I don't know why, I just decided, why yes, I could do that," he says.
Since walking isn't new to Ken, he figured finishing in the required four hours or less wouldn't be a problem.
"I think about the only thing that I still have that is strong is my legs," he says laughing.
Ken says when he's walking he lets his mind wander. Thinking about something positive he says. He expects to do that during his 13 mile mini marathon walk too.
"When you're thinking of something positive you don't even think about your walking. Am I tired, am I breathing hard. You don't even think of that," he says.
And he says as he stands at the starting line not much will bother him. Not the crowd, not the distance. But the weather, he says, that could be a problem.
"That's the one thing. If it's cold that wouldn't bother me. If it rains or pours down I wouldn't like that at all. And if its pouring down and thundering and lightening I'll probably drop out or just not even begin," he says.
Otherwise, he's ready for a wonderful 13.1 mile walk.
Ken and Joan have two children, six Grand Children and seven great grandchildren. His son-in-law is walking with Ken and it's his first Mini-Marathon as well.
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