94-year-old bridge runner preps for big event

By Nikki Gaskins

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)With the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run quickly approaching, Bill Pennebaker's story is sure to serve as an inspiration for many who take part in the big event.

Since 2001, he's participated in all the bridge runs and has always been the oldest to do so. At 94-years-old he shows no signs of slowing down.

"I'm in good health, and I'm proud of the fact that I carry a driver's license that doesn't have a single restriction on it--not even for vision," said Pennebaker. "At my age, I live from day to day."

For Pennebaker, staying active and eating healthy is key to living a long life.

"I try to walk almost every day--at least a mile to three miles to four miles," said Pennebaker. "I don't go to fast food restaurants. I eat very little red meat. I eat a lot of vegetables, lot of fruit, fish, and chicken. Just everything in moderation.

So far, he says his healthy habits over the years, has kept him going strong.

"I don't have any aches or pains, and I don't have any muscle problems. I don't have any knee problems," said Pennebaker.

Last year, he completed the bridge run in an hour and 47 minutes. While he doesn't expect to be the first to cross the finish line, finishing period, he says, is good enough for him.

"It might be an hour and 48 minutes this time. I'm getting a little older," he joked.

Along with the title of holding oldest bridge run participant, Pennebaker was once a B-17 pilot in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II. He had hoped to, however, to navigate a submarine during the war.

"The navy wouldn't have me. I wasn't tall enough. You had to be at least 5'6'' to be an officer and I was only 5'5''," he laughed.

Besides his stint in the military, Pennebaker's educational background isn't too shabby either.

"I graduated from Harvard in 1940 with honors and went to Yale law school for one year and then the war came along," said Pennebaker.

With this year's bridge run right around the corner, Pennebaker can't wait to take part--in turn, showing others, you're only as young as you feel.

"I'm now just fast walking. I'm hardly jogging, although, I might want to do a little jogging this year," said Pennebaker.

Pennebaker will turn 95-years-old in December and says he has plans to take part in next year's bridge run as well.