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Las Cruces octogenarian takes second in national Senior Games road race

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Al Berryman runs three days a week, including a Saturday morning run that often covers six miles or more; he does strength training at Planet Fitness on El Paseo Road two mornings a week; rides a stationary bike in his Las Cruces home 30-40 minutes at a time, three days a week; is an active member of Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue and the Las Cruces Running Club; and he just finished in second place in two national running events.

Oh yeah, and Al is 80 years old.

Berryman won silver medals in both the 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) road races at the 2023 National Senior Games (the Senior Olympics) held in July in Pittsburgh. He was one of 11,000 participants in the games, where senior athletes from New Mexico collected 120 total medals (39 gold, 37 silver, 44 bronze) to finish 15th among the 50 states.

“We did really well,” Berryman said. “We were knocking down medals. I was proud to part of that group.”

“We’re very competitive,” Berryman said of Senior Games athletes – he passed Franklin Crow of California with 11 second left in the race to take second in the 10K – “but we’re all friends.”

The key to physical exercise, Berryman said, is treating it “kind of like a job. You gotta show up.”

For Berryman, maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only means running, cycling and working out; he also is very nutrition conscious.

“I tend to avoid processed foods,” Berryman said, along with sugar and “fried stuff.”

But he still splurges occasionally, like having a hamburger and french fries.

“You shouldn’t be a slave to what you eat,” Berryman said. “You should have a good relationship with food.”

Another outdoor activity Berryman enjoys is taking care of his yard, and that’s no small task since his house sits on a full acre.

“Stay healthy. Stay close to family. Work hard.” That’s his philosophy, Berryman said.

Berryman moved to Las Cruces about 12 years ago after owning an insurance company in Roswell. He taught finance and insurance at New Mexico State University, and finally fully retired five years ago, at age 75.

Two of Berryman’s three children live in Las Cruces, along with his three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Berryman admits he inspires them a little with his commitment to nutrition and exercise.

“It’s a healthy family,” he said.

 To see final results of the 2023 National Senior Games, visit nsga.com/results-2023. Also visit runsignup.com/Club/NM/LasCruces/LasCrucesRunningClub and www.mvsar.org.



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