Story by: Nick Picht on January 29, 2024
EDITOR’S NOTE _ This article was first published in April 2023 as Anne and John Laun trained for the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. It’s the story of how they keep healthy while training into their 70s. Interested in training with Norton Sports Health this year? Sign up here to join the Norton Sports Health training program. Registration is open until Feb. 28, 2024.
It’s a beautiful April morning at Broad Run Park. It’s 75 degrees, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and the spring breeze is blowing ever so calmly.
While children are on the playground and the groundskeepers are cutting the grass, Anne Laun, 69, and John Laun, 72, are lacing up their sneakers.
They’re preparing to do what they’ve done four days a week for the past 20 years — go for a run.
The Launs are training for the 2023 GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon, a race they’ve run each year for the better part of their two-decades-long running careers.
The miniMarathon, and running in general, became a regular part of the Launs’ lives when their children were in school. One of their daughters ran cross-country at Assumption High School. While she competed, they walked around the track and watched.
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Eventually, walking turned into running and started a new hobby.
The couple has traveled across the country, participating in events like the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon and countless other races.
In total, the couple runs nearly 20 races and hundreds of miles per year.
“I think having a goal, and having something to strive for and being the better version of yourself,” John said about what keeps him going. “If you enjoy it, and if you like it, it’s important to be active, to get off the couch and then to come out and have fun and exercise and meet people. I tell all our friends, whenever I see them at church, I tell them, ‘do this race with us.’”
As the years have gone on, it gets harder for the Launs to prepare for and recover from long runs. The stresses of years of half-marathons caused wear and tear on their bodies.
Robin G. Curry, M.D., orthopedic sports medicine specialist with Norton Orthopedic Institute and Norton Sports Health, helps keep them logging the miles.
For years, Dr. Curry has worked with the Launs to keep them in good physical shape, allowing them to continue running for as long as they have. In 2023, that means periodic checkups, cortisone injections for Anne once every few months, and regular maintenance for minor aches and pains.
“They have very good attitudes,” Dr. Curry said. “They’re ready to put in the work. Whatever it takes for them to continue to be able to run, they want to be able to do that. If we tell them things to do, then they’re always willing and eager to do those things to continue to run.”
The care they’ve received from Dr. Curry over the years is part of the reason why the Launs are preparing to conquer another miniMarathon, proving not just to themselves, but to others, that anything is possible if you put one foot in front of the other.
“Dr. Curry is very encouraging,” Anne said. “As long as you don’t have an injury that’s going to hurt you, she will get you to try to do what you’re able to do.”
“The Norton [Sports Health] approach is a team approach to keeping you healthy and keeping you … the best version of yourself,” John said. “Norton kind of keeps us on track and encourages us to do these things.”
Dr. Curry suggests anyone looking to begin an exercise program first speak with their primary care provider. She also suggests going for a routine physical exam and finding a training plan that will increase in difficulty gradually.
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