PARKVILLE, MD---He is the "Marathon Man" of Oak Crest retirement community, but his passion for health and wellness is an inspiration to all Marylanders.
Robert Gralley was recognized at the Governor's 6th Annual Leadership in Aging Awards at a luncheon ceremony held on May 2nd at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville, Maryland. May is Older Americans Month, and the event acknowledges the many accomplishments, contributions and service by older citizens to the state and nation.
With his wife, Betty, fellow residents and employees of Oak Crest in attendance, Mr. Gralley received the Health and Vitality Award for 2013 from Gloria G. Lawlah, the Secretary of Aging for the State of Maryland.
Two other residents from Oak Crest, Michelle Caldwell and Jo Ann Franklin, were proudly nominated by the Fitness Studio team of the Erickson Living retirement community.
At age 86, Mr. Gralley has entered 42 marathons, including the infamous events in New York and Boston and other world-wide competitions in London and Hawaii.
However, he is more than just a "Marathon Man."
Mr. Gralley achieved an amazing milestone in April, 2010. Having already lapped the earth twice (officially at 49,761.37 miles), he ran his 50,000th career mile at Oak Crest, participating in a "victory lap" ceremony.
Staying active and involved has always been a major influence. He played a half-season with the men's basketball team of the University of Maryland College Park in 1943 before being called to service in the United States Navy during World War II.
Following the war, he focused on his family and career. But at the age of 45, he decided he needed to "lose a few pounds."
So he started to run and immediately began to meticulously track each mile he trekked by pencil in a notebook. Whether it was recording those marathons or a run on the treadmill, he kept that journal going.
Forty-two years later, Mr. Gralley is still going strong. His current five-day per week regimen is a family affair. He bikes on the weekends in Baltimore County with his son Kevin, runs competitively with his other son Craig and walks on the campus of Oak Crest with his wife, Betty. He is often seen in the fitness center at Oak Crest when the elements demand it.
And he didn't stop at his 50,000th mile. Mr. Gralley continues to compete in the half-marathon race at the Annual Baltimore Running Festival each October.
[caption id="attachment_51189" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Mr. Gralley receives his award from Gloria Lawlah (L), Secretary of Aging for the State of Maryland, and event emcee Beverly Burke (R), news director at WEAA FM (photo courtesy of Michelle Caldwell).[/caption]
About Erickson Living: Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Erickson Living is a nation-leading developer and manager of continuing care retirement communities. The Erickson Living network currently comprises sixteen campuses in Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, which together are home to more than 22,000 residents and employ more than 12,000 people. Further information regarding Erickson Living is available at www.ericksonliving.com.