A record 1,000 competitors will take part in the 2023 Arnold 5K Pump & Run. It’s the largest race of its kind, testing overall fitness by measuring both strength and endurance.

And among the participants is a Circleville man sure to inspire you to get off the couch and get to the gym.

“You have to be kind of crazy, I guess,” said Ace Elsea. “But it’s just something that I enjoy.”

Elsea is a bit of a gym rat, which is saying something, considering he is 81 years old.

“I work out 3-4 times a week and so it’s a matter of just doing it and I really enjoy it,” said Elsea.

That’s why for the 20th time, he has signed up for the Arnold 5K Pump & Run this weekend.

“It tests your endurance, and it tests your strength,” said Elsea, “and I’ve always been very competitive and it’s always something that I thought, well, this is something that I’d like to do.”

The Pump & Run consists of two parts. First, the pump, which for Elsea means bench pressing 60% of his body weight. His goal is the maximum 30 reps. That is followed by the run, a good old-fashioned 5K.

Elsea jokes that his goal is to simply finish and finishing first in his age group.

“Well, I’m always number one. There isn’t anybody in my age [group]. It’s pretty easy to be number one when nobody else is in your age group! When you’re 81, there’s not a lot of competition,” said Elsea.

And for a man that has run four marathons and 108 half marathons in his lifetime, there are no plans to slow down after this year.

“I would think that’s probably the case. I’m still pretty physical,” said Elsea. “At 81, I’m not without my aches and pains, but on the other hand, I hope to continue as long as I can.”