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Omaha grandma who's finished 30+ half-marathons works out to be family role model

Omaha grandma who's finished 30+ half-marathons works out to be family role model

Age is just a number for Joy Mann. And she intends to prove that point to her family.

About a decade ago, Mann decided to take up running. Now, she has more than 30 half-marathons under her sneakers.

She’s 69 years old.

Mann runs up to five days a week. She also adds in regular workouts at Kosama, near 144th Street and West Maple Road.

The Omaha woman wants to be a healthy and fit role model for her nine grandchildren.

The proud grandmother makes some school drop-offs and tries to be a regular at their extracurricular activities. That means she sometimes has to squeeze in her workouts around the kids’ busy schedules.

Mann said the running community and Kosama family hold her accountable. The two communities are a lot alike. They don’t care about your skill level or speed. They just want you to be there.

“They’re awesome, awesome people,” Mann said. “Both are so supportive.”

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Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I took up running when I was 59. I also discovered Kosama. I want to set a good example for my grandkids.

Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?

A: I run three to five times a week, from 1 mile to 5 miles. I’m at Kosama five times a week. They start us out with jumping jacks and warmups. Every class is different. I love the weight training. I’m strong, if not stronger than I was before.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: I want to stay healthy. My goal is to show the grandkids that age doesn’t matter.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: The weight training and the strength I’ve gained. I started with five-pound weights, and now I use 30-pound weights. This program is to help make you stronger in not just one area. This is about the whole body.

Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?

A: I have gut issues. Some days I have to tell myself that it will get better, and I just have to keep moving.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: The people I exercise with. With running, I run because I have upcoming events. Plus, my goal is to stay healthy. Once I get out and get active, it’s OK.

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: At other gyms, sometimes the showers aren’t clean.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?

A: I cycle with my husband, and I used to play golf. I love to read and discuss books with my grandson.

Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?

A: Compression tights.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?

A: Believe in yourself. Don’t quit. Like with running, you don’t think of the 13 miles you have to do. You have this mile, then this mile. It’s building on your accomplishments.

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