Septuagenarian marks birthday with 9-mile run – Times Union




ALBANY – No one would judge a runner for skipping a workout on their birthday.

There would be even more leeway if that runner was turning 79 years old.


But per his weekly routine, Bob Congemi was on the track at the Albany YMCA completing nine miles worth of laps around the indoor track on Friday night.

Dressed in a black track suit, steadily moving past walkers and behind joggers, it would have been hard to tell the Albany resident, who teaches literature at SUNY Empire State College, was partaking in a recent birthday tradition. The tip off, though, was his daughter, Kristan Connolly, who was present with a literal sign of support.

As he passed her on the track, she waved a sign announcing to anyone in eyeshot that her father was doing a nine-mile run for his 79th birthday.


“I am very proud of him and what’s he doing is very important,” Connolly said.

She credited her father, who has three children and seven grandchildren, with instilling in the family of embracing a healthy lifestyle. When Connolly was a teenager, running became an activity she and her father shared together.

He began running half a century ago and explained that it keeps him “alive,” although now prefers to rack up his miles indoors.

“I have gotten used to the track. It’s very comfortable,” he said. “I love the Y. This is a really special place.”

Next year, Congemi doesn’t plan on taking it easy, as his sights are set on 9 1/2 miles for his 80th birthday.


David.Lombardo@timesunion.com – 518.454.5427 – @poozer87

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