Special Runners Club Aims to Race in All 254 Texas Counties

Special Runners Club Aims to Race in All 254 Texas Counties

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - It was a beautiful morning for a run. Residents of all ages took part in the Desert Dash 5 and 10K race and the Lizard Lap Fun Run Saturday morning at Mission Fitness in Odessa.

NewsWest 9 caught up with a special group of runners, whose goal is to get their shoe prints in every county in Texas.

The group is called the Texas 254 Running Club. The leader, Mary Kaplan, noticed some counties in Texas didn't have a race. So she figured, why not start our own club that puts on our own races?

For some, running is therapy. A way to let loose, and clear your mind.

Others take a different approach, like, maybe I won't feel so guilty about that hamburger later.

For the Texas 254 Running Club. Its the love of running combined with travel all around the Lone Star State.

"I started in 1977 and did the first Capital 10K at Austin," said Willie Lindsey, member of the Texas 254 Running Club and resident of Georgetown, Texas.

Willie is 81 years old. When he runs, he thinks of the reward after the finish line.

"Get back and drink a cup of coffee," he said.

While many might retire from running at an early age if they get injured, that didn't happen with Willie. His mantra is simple.

"You've got to force yourself to keep going. No matter how fast, just keep going," he said.

Mary has run in over 1,000 races - 1,030 to be exact. At every starting line and finish line, sits her lucky charm. Her husband, Hal.

"I wave the orange hat so she can see me from way off because I'm the only guy wearing an orange hat," said Hal Kaplan of Sunrise Beach, Texas.

Although Hal has a bad foot and can't run, he's there every time, camera in hand, to snap a photo of his hunny.

"During the week when we run at home, he rides his bicycle with me so I don't have to run alone," said Mary.

"I'm the bag dragger, picture taker, gas putter inner and I pay the bills. She drives and I sleep," said Hal.

For the next stop for the Texas 254 Running Club, just ask the happy couple. Any other details like how long they've been married, well, that's still being ironed out.

"42. 42 years," said Mary.

"38," said Hal.

"He forgets," said Mary.

"Oh, 38 or 42. Who watches the clock when you're on a honeymoon? We're together and that's enough," said Hal.

Out of the 254 counties, Mary has 200 under her belt. Willie has 70. Both are already planning their next 5K.