80-Year-old Woman Celebrates Doing a 5K Every Day Since Pandemic–1,000 in a Row!

​Mae Dean Erb completes 1000th consecutive 5K (Credit: Cindy Impson)

A Cherokee woman determined not to let the pandemic get her down began running or walking a 5K every day for 100 days.

Through lockdowns, Alpha, Delta, Omicron, and beyond, Mae Dean Erb kept on running until she completed her 1,000th 5K last Friday, two months short of her 80th birthday.

“I don’t know how she managed to do a 5K walk or run every single day for the last 1,000 days but she did,” Erb’s daughter, Julie Erb-Alvarez, told GNN. “Her milestone was celebrated by a gathering of friends and family – even some virtually. She is our hero.”

A member of the Cherokee Nation, Erb lives with her husband of 56 years, Jim Erb, in a rural town called Blackgum, near her hometown of Vain, Oklahoma.

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She has by no means stopped doing these continuous 5Ks, and in fact at the time of publishing she would be on her 1,006th, noting that good habits are as hard to break as bad habits.

“I don’t hurt anywhere. I have knee issues every once in a while, with, I guess age, but it’s really wonderful thing (walk/run) to do,” she told the Cherokee Phoenix.

Mae Dean Erb completes 1000th consecutive 5K (Credit: Cindy Impson)

“It’s just something you should do for yourself and your family, and when you have a 4-year-old grandson, you want to stay young enough to pick him up and run with him and catch him if he’s going in the wrong direction.”

She often runs and walks with her friends who note that going out for a walk doesn’t even feel like a walk anymore unless it’s 5K.

Julie notes that Mae has become an inspiration to the whole community, not least to herself, who wants to be just like her mom when she reaches her golden years.

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