Grandparents secretly train then surprise family by winning 5K medals

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 09, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ill. – For anyone in need of a little motivation to get them off the couch, look no further than Allan and Ruth Willman of Montgomery, Illinois.

Happily married for 58 years, the Willmans' routine is pretty simple: daily news and soap operas, grapes for lunch and a nap by 3 p.m.

Then one day they got to thinking. Flipping through their children's pictures, it occurred to them that all of their four children and 11 grandchildren were good athletes.

So when Ruth came across a signup sheet for a local 5K race, she saw an opportunity.

"Let's enter it,” she remembered telling Allan.  “It's grandma and grandpa's time to shine, right?"

That afternoon the 79-year-olds laced up their shoes and made a plan to prove that grandma and grandpa have still got it.

For weeks, Ruth and Alan secretly worked out. They stretched, lifted weights and put in the miles right up to race day when they called their kids and told them to bring their cameras to the finish line.

"They couldn't believe we done it at our age and I said, ‘Come on now, we're not that old,’" Allan laughed.

In fact, Ruth and Allan came in first and second place in their age group.

Tickled with themselves, the Williams paraded those medals all over town.

“We bragged to everybody."

But in the journey to prove to their family that it's never too late for firsts or surprises, Ruth and Alan surprised themselves.

It was a simple plan that became something bigger.

Allan has been battling Parkinsons for over a year and just a few weeks ago, he had a minor heart procedure. Despite all that, both Allan and Ruth say they are planning on signing up for a couple more races this next year.