Meet Cleveland's very own 'Forrest Gump,' avid runner isn't stopping at age 84

CLEVELAND - If you need some motivation to get started as a runner, you should get a lesson from Leo Lightner -- an 84-year-old runner in Cleveland.

"Just makes you feel better after a good run," said the man nicknamed "Forrest Gump."

And since his first run more than 30 years ago, Lightner is a lot like Forrest -- he just keeps running.

"I hope when I pass away maybe I'm running. I don't want to stop."

At age 84, Lightner is still pounding the pavement and catching people's attention along the way. "Primarily they say you're an inspiration. In my 80s, I'm setting national records."

After finishing dozens of marathons, Lightner moved on to ultra-marathons, some 100-miles long. "In September, I'll be 85, and there's a 24-hour run."

Not even two mini-strokes could keep him from the pastime he's so passionate about. "The legs aren't working as well as they used to," said Lightner. "My performance has improved with time and patience."

With thousands of miles logged, it's safe to say this runner knows what it takes to reach the finish line.

Lightner offers this list of training tips:

- For beginners, start with a base, maybe 20-25 miles per week.
- Remember, it's mind over body.
- When you reach the finish line, look ahead to what's next.

"It's contagious," said Lightner. "Always a goal. Something to shoot for."

Also, don't forget:

- Dress for the weather. In the heat, wear light-colored, moisture wicking clothing.
- Turn down the volume. Keep headphones low to hear what's going on around you.
- Choose well-traveled paths and remain confident to deter safety issues.

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