Man, 79, marks birth­day with 9-mile run

Albany Times Union (Sunday) - - AROUND THE REGION - By David Lom­bardo

No one would judge a run­ner for skip­ping a work­out on their birth­day.

There would be even more lee­way if that run­ner was turn­ing 79 years old.

But per his weekly rou­tine, Bob Congemi was on the track at the Al­bany YMCA com­plet­ing nine miles worth of laps around the in­door track on Fri­day night.

Dressed in a black track suit, steadily mov­ing past walk­ers and be­hind jog­gers, it would have been hard to tell the Al­bany res­i­dent, who teaches lit­er­a­ture at SUNY Em­pire State Col­lege, was par­tak­ing in a re­cent birth­day tra­di­tion. The tip off, though, was his daugh­ter, Kris­tan Con­nolly, who was present with a lit­eral sign of sup­port.

As he passed her on the track, she waved a sign an­nounc­ing to any­one in eye­shot that her fa­ther was do­ing a nine-mile run for his 79th birth­day.

“I am very proud of him and what’s he do­ing is very im­por­tant,” Con­nolly said.

She cred­ited her fa­ther, who has three chil­dren and seven grand­chil­dren, with in­spir­ing the fam­ily to em­brace a healthy life­style. When Con­nolly was a teenager, run­ning be­came an ac­tiv­ity she and her fa­ther shared to­gether.

He be­gan run­ning half a cen­tury ago and ex­plained that it keeps him “alive,” al­though now prefers to rack up his miles in­doors.

“I have got­ten used to the track. It’s very com­fort­able,” he said. “I love the Y. This is a re­ally spe­cial place.”

Next year, Congemi doesn’t plan on tak­ing it easy, as his sights are set on 91/2 miles for his 80th birth­day.

David Lom­bardo / Times Union

Bob Congemi cel­e­brates his 79th birth­day by run­ning nine miles at the Al­bany YMCA on Fri­day. He’s con­sid­er­ing adding an­other half-mile on his 80th birth­day.

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