80-year-old Denis McKee is set to run his fourth 5K at Tamarack in Ottawa

80 years old, McKee will be running the 5K at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on Saturday at 4 p.m.

“It’s good for you, but it’s hard work … I think there’s a payoff. I’m still here, that’s one thing,” McKee said. “I feel good about it after I’ve done it. I’m tired … but I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

Exercise was reintroduced to his life after he got into a car accident in 2013.  Luckily, he could turn to his daughters, Heather McKee and Nancy Fay, for some motivation.

“I felt I had to do something to get training because of the pain … I saw Heather, who started (running half marathons) in her early 40s … and my other daughter, Nancy, has been trekking … the Himalayas, the Andes,” McKee said. “I guess they inspired me.”

In 2016, he tried exercising again. Currently, he heads to the gym for an hour most mornings. He hits the treadmill and does some other leg-strengthening exercises.

“I do it because it feels OK for me. I don’t train so much for races. I just do the exercise. Racing is the cream on the pie,” he said. Though this year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend won’t be his first run, it’s his first since turning 80.

In October 2017, he ran his first 5K during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. McKee said he was nervous at the time.

“I was embarrassed to be there. (I’m) tall and skinny and (didn’t feel) like (I was) in the greatest condition. (I) expected to see a whole bunch of real jocks,” he said.

All McKee wanted to do was finish, and he did. “I was quite arrogant. I was pleased with myself,” he said. “It was an amazing experience to see the people, all ages, sizes, shapes and conditions, getting out there.”

Next, he ran the 5K in last year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, then followed that up by running his third 5K back at Toronto’s Waterfront in 2018.


posted Friday May 24th