Larry Gibson's running career was an on-again, off-again thing for nearly three decades. Then he had heart surgery, and everything changed.
It's not that the surgery—which involved doctors removing eight blockages from his heart—stopped Gibson from running. It's done the opposite. What was once a hobby is now a way of life.
On Sunday, he'll run Bethlehem to Easton in the VIA half-marathon, his second time running the race since the surgery.
Gibson said he began running in his thirties, but never consistently.
"I had my periods where I really pushed myself, but it wasn't a constant thing," Gibson said, sitting in the kitchen of his South Side Easton home.
"He runs all over South Side," said Pat Gibson, Larry's wife. "If he’s not running, he's walking."
Walking—with weights in tow—has replaced weightlifting as a form of exercise for Gibson, part of the new regime since his surgery. There's also a new diet: low fat, low salt, low cholesterol, with a lot of fruits and grains.
And there's the peace that comes from running, usually on his own.
"Once you get in the rhythm..." Gibson began, then trailed off. "I just like the challenge."
His challenge this Sunday will be to cross the finish line in under an hour and 57 minutes, his time from last year's race.
The VIA marathon, half-marathon and team relay leave from Bethlehem Sunday morning. The races are all sold out, but races scheduled for Saturday were still open as of Friday afternoon. For more information, visit the race website.