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Midsummer Night's Run to honor trio that have run them all

Overall winner Adam Togami crossed the finish line at A Midsummer Night's Run in downtown Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 10, 2013. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Overall winner Adam Togami crossed the finish line at A Midsummer Night's Run in downtown Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 10, 2013. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

A frequent runner in his free time in retirement, Lexington native Robert Green said he likes to help friends by teaching them how to dance, weave baskets and do house maintenance.

Green is among three runners who have entered all 29 editions of A Midsummer Night's Run, a 5,000-meter road race presented by Baptist Health. The 30th race is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Lexington.

Green, 68, finished power washing the second floor of a friend's house on a warm day in 2004, and he stepped onto the ladder and remembered thinking about how old and rusty the ladder was before he started to feel the ladder fall.

Green was unconscious for three days in the UK Chandler Medical Center. Doctors then told him he had a 30 percent chance of living, and that 30 percent was enough for Green to hold on.

He stayed in the hospital for two weeks as his head injury, which included a major concussion and a nasty gash, healed. By the time he was discharged, Green, a self-proclaimed "silly fellow," said he was trying to teach the nurses how to dance.

"That's what I like to tell people," Green said. "I won't say I didn't do it."

He recovered in time to run in the 2004 Midsummer Night's Run and he has been in every one since.

Green doesn't remember much about the inaugural race in 1985 except that he was in the top 100, and those 100 runners received an award.

Retired from his job in the now-defunct UK Printing Department for more than 10 years, Green shoots for running 35 miles a week while he fills his time dancing and working on houses around town.

"I can't run six-minute miles anymore," Green said. "I've been running for 35 years. I like to say that I am not working the run; the run is working me."

Green will run the 1-Mile Fun Run two hours before the 5,000-meter run, and feels good about his fitness in advance of Saturday's events.

"The weather isn't supposed to be too hot, which means I will run faster," he said. "The heat wears me down, and the only thing that the years have done to me is hurt the endurance I have."

Race to honor all three runners with plaques

One of the other runners who has raced in every Midsummer Night's Run is Lexington native Bill Bond, 71, who said he doesn't enjoy training for races and running for fun.

"I like the challenge of a race," Bond said. "I have to challenge myself in order to keep the interest. You're always tapering down or accelerating training, and it's always the same type of thing. The whole trick is not doing too much but doing just enough to stay in shape."

Bond's fondest memory of the event was the time a younger man Bond met at the start line decided to run with him as Bond recuperated from an injury.

"He ran with me the entire race," Bond said. "We ran a better time than I thought I would, and he helped me do that. He could have run a faster time, but he sacrificed his race to help mine."

The other runner who has run in every Midsummer Night's Run is Mary Nagle. The three runners will receive honorary plaques before Saturday's race.

They are all members of the BLUEgrass Runners. BLUEgrass Runners is a running club based in Lexington that promotes a healthy lifestyle that includes running and activity.

Bond said his goal is to finish in the top three of his 70-74 age group.

"If all the runners in my age group participate, there's no way I can do it," Bond said. "If some don't participate, ... then I feel like I have a good chance."

Green isn't looking to place in the top three of his age group. Instead, he is looking to have fun staying in shape and keeping his body healthy.

"I always like to tell people who come watch me, 'Did you see me?'" Green said. "When they say no, I tell them, 'You must have blinked.'"