It's not unusual to hear a story in the news about an athlete winning a race and receiving major accolades for doing so. But it's very seldom you hear about the last one who crossed the finish line.
Well, today, we are sharing the story about an 89-year-old athlete who is "very proud" of her recent accomplishment of finishing a two-mile Turkey Trot that was held in Mountain Grove in late November. Not once did she stop walking – which makes her story quite interesting.
The fact that she was the last participant to finish meant also that she had a police car escort the whole way – which she also thought was "very cool."
This week, it's hats off to Velda Ogar for her energy and spirit.
As the oldest participant in the race, she received a "very nice" trophy and something to look forward to next year.
Ogar said she "couldn't wait to come back next year when, at age 90, she most certainly would receive a second award."
Ogar's daughter, Cindy MacPherson, lives in Mountain Grove and is very athletically inclined. This isn't the first race Ogar has run with her family. The group hosted a marathon this past summer as well. And, at age 84, Ogar also took part in an Arkansas marathon.
She raised eight children (six girls and two boys) and mentored many others. Her list of grandchildren and great grandchildren are just as impressive. As a widow of more than 25 years, Ogar tries to fill her days with activities of interest, visiting with family and friends as well.
Five days a week, Ogar goes to the Mexico Area YMCA to do aqua aerobics, and credits the senior programs for keeping her in shape and moving.
Ogar is so taken by the Mexico YMCA programs and its future aspirations, that she wants to participate in a local 5k or two mile walk/run.
"For many years, I signed up for them to take money out of my account (for the YMCA), but I never took advantage of it. Well, two years ago, my granddaughter, Sara (Ogar) got me started," Ogar said. "It's my second year now, and she still calls me once or twice a week to ask if I'm still going for my 45 minutes. It really keeps me healthy."
Ogar is best known for her 25 years she worked as a registered nurse in the OB unit at Audrain Medical Center. The changes she has seen, she says, have been phenomenal.
"It's good to live in a town like this; you can't go to Walmart without someone knowing you. I really enjoyed my work and I enjoy living in Mexico, and I've had a good life" the southern Illinois native said. "And, going to the YMCA keeps me active."
Page 2 of 2 - "Even when you don't feel like it (especially when you're alone) it makes you feel good about yourself when you get involved with your community," Ogar said. The day of the Turkey Trot, her oldest grandson, Jason MacPherson, walked with her – making the journey even more pleasurable.
"Stay active, get on with your life and don't feel sorry for yourself," is Ogar's advice to others. "If you don't, you'll no doubt be up a creek."