CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Jim Ross allowed his stature to select his sport.
"I wasn't very big, so football wasn't my thing," YNC James Ross, USN (Ret.) admitted. "I had to find some other physical activity, so I started running."
The Chesapeake resident says that's when his love of running began. However, it wasn't much of a relationship until late last year when he and his wife Wendy ran in a local five kilometer race (5K) to benefit the Navy Seal Foundation.
"I ran in that race and thought it felt pretty good," Ross recalled during an interview with News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler. "So I started running at the gym, on the treadmill, two times a week. But then COVID-19 came along and shut the gym down."
After that, the 67 year-old began running 5Ks (3.1 miles) three times a week in his Great Bridge neighborhood.
"September 27th at 7:45 in the morning, I completed my 100th 5K," Ross revealed. "I like being visible. Because if others see this old out running in the morning, maybe they'll think they can do that, too."
When you run around the neighborhood as much as Jim does, you notice things that need attention. For example, when he noticed a bus stop down the street did not have a place for kids or parents to sit, Jim assembled a bench.
"I like keeping tabs on the neighborhood," Ross said. "Maybe I'm the unofficial mayor of Homemont. A couple months ago, a gentlemen had fallen ill, so I went down and cut his grass."
Running more than 100 5Ks already this year, which totals more than 310 miles, is no small feat. But Jim, a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, says he's got more ground - and one specific field - to cover.
"I figured the week of Christmas, I'll have completed 410 miles - the equivalent of running from here to Heinz field in Pittsburgh," Ross said smiling.
So maybe football was, indeed, his thing after all.
UPDATE (December 8, 2020): On December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day - a meaningful day for the Navy, Jim hit the 406 mile mark: the exact distance from his Chesapeake home to Heinz Field, home of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. He and his wife Wendy celebrated the milestone with Primanti Brothers sandwiches, a Pittsburgh staple.
A #FollowUp on Jim Ross, the 67 year-old who's run 100+ 5Ks this yr:— Adam Winkler (@AdamWinkSports) December 8, 2020
He's a retired @USNavy Chief & huge @steelers fan. So, at 07:55 on #PearlHarborDay, he hit the 406 mile mark: the distance from his home to @heinzfield & celebrated with @primantibros.https://t.co/at8xCCi8JL pic.twitter.com/G63SejHlCQ