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Dallas man celebrates 100th birthday with run at White Rock Lake

DALLAS - If life is a race, Orville Rogers is enjoying every step of the way.

DALLAS - If life is a race, Orville Rogers is enjoying every step of the way.

He led a group of family and friends near White Rock Lake Saturday morning, who collectively ran 100 miles to celebrate a major step -- Orville's 100th birthday.

They all ran the last mile together, from Mt. Vernon Estate to Roger's longtime home nearby.

"How wonderful it is, how great it is, to be alive," Orville smiled and shrugged. "I really enjoy life."

More than 30 family members gathered for a post-run birthday brunch, wearing blue t-shirts adorned with a drawing of Orville.

"I never would have thought I'd live long enough to have 32 to 34 people here today," he said.

They sang "happy birthday," around a cake that represented some key milestones for Orville over the last 100 years.

"I'm overwhelmed." he said.

He was a World War II pilot, who trained other pilots, stateside. He later became a commercial pilot, and went on Baptist missions with his late wife of 64 years, Esther Beth.

Orville started running, at age 50. He even wrote a book, called Running Man: Flying High For the Glory of God.
"I have a total of 43,500 miles," said Orville. "No joint problems, no muscle problems."

"Running is really just a metaphor for his whole life. He's run the race well," said granddaughter Shannon Rogers-McCrory.

He's won multiple gold medals in senior track and field races. He's planning to set a record, as a 100 year old racer, at his next meet, in March.

"I live life with a capital L," said Rogers.

So what's the secret?

"God promises believers a long good life if they follow his commands," said Orville. "I eat right, most of the time. I have a good mental attitude. I have a wonderful, supportive family, and lots of wonderful friends."

Orville has three living children (his oldest son died in Vietnam), 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren, all of whom, are cheering him on, as he crosses the 100 year finish line into the next race, with no sign of slowing down.

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