He had put on some weight and wasn't nearly as active as he once was.

And then Hudson resident Rod McGregor had an epiphany.

His daughter, Kate, kept seeing her track and field career be derailed by one injury after another.

Seeing his daughter's string of bad luck broke Rod's heart. At that point, he was forced to make a decision.

If he wanted to keep his daughter's spirits up, he had to return to a hobby that once was an essential part of his life many years ago.

"I didn't want to see her throw the towel," Rod said. "I told my daughter that I would start running with her."

Let's just say Rod hasn't stopped running since.

The 60-year-old McGregor recently competed in the National Senior Olympics, which concluded June 12 in Birmingham, Ala.

Rod took a bronze medal in the 800-meter race with a time of 2 minutes, 28.49 seconds. Rod, who competed in the male 60-to-64 age group, also placed fifth in the 400 (1:04.63) and ninth in the 1,500 (5:40.6).

Rod returned to running in 2012 after being inactive for more than 30 years.

He made the commitment while his daughter competed for the Hudson girls track and field team.

Kate, a 2014 Hudson graduate, wound up reaching the state meet as a member of the 3,200-meter relay team during her senior year.

"I had ballooned up to 180 pounds," Rod said. "My daughter was a pretty good runner at Hudson, but she always got hurt at the end of her seasons."

Once Rod started running again, he was hooked.

"It kind of clicked again," Rod said. "I saw that they had the national qualifiers in Cleveland. I hadn't run a track race in 30-something years. I got back into it and I dropped a lot of weight."

Rod, a North Canton Oakwood (which is now Canton GlenOak) graduate who was the Federal League champion in the 880-yard race in 1974 and 1975, was the 55-59 age-group runner-up in the 800 at the 2013 National Senior Olympics in Cleveland.

Rod also qualified for the National Senior Olympics in 2015, but he decided not to make the trip to Minneapolis.

Since Rod recently turned 60, he had to compete in a different age group at the 2017 Senior Olympics.

Believe it or not, he was thrilled.

"I was the happiest guy when I turned 60," Rod said. "I knew I would be the youngest guy in my age group."

Rod qualified for the 2017 National Senior Olympics thanks to his performance at the Ohio Games, which took place last July at Otterbein University in Westerville.

Rod, who is the president of Crowl Marketing I Creative, an advertising agency located in North Canton, didn't plan to go to Birmingham to finish anywhere else but first.

In fact, he was so obsessed with the prospect of winning that he pushed his body to the limits during training.

"I took off from work to train in Flagstaff, Arizona," Rod said. "I was in the high altitude for four weeks.

"Thank goodness, my wife [Marsha] let me out. I had my own business and I prepared for this for a year. I would work a little in the morning and then train for five hours."

The higher altitude wasn't exactly, well, a walk in the park for Rod, who got some training tips from online coach Greg McMillan.

"It was about 7,000 feet of altitude," Rod said. "It took me a week to adjust. We took it easy the first week and then I trained harder in the second week after I adapted.

"I stayed at Airbnb and I rented a condo. The first week, I was huffing and puffing by the fourth floor. In about a month, I managed to climb the stairs without being exhausted."

When the 800 race took place, Rod was on his way to a gold medal. After dominating his preliminary race, he headed to the final stretch with a comfortable lead.

And then something totally unexpected happened.

"I had a 30-meter lead with 200 meters to go and I was passed on the homestretch," Rod said. "I didn't expect them to be there. I didn't do my due diligence. I kind of panicked."

As a result, Rod had to settle for the bronze. Gary Plank of Arizona won the race and David Schimanski of Tennessee took second.

"I thought I was going to win," Rod said. "I've replayed the race a 1,000 times in my head. I should have pushed hard in the second lap."

While Rod was certainly disappointed to let the gold get away, he took the time to appreciate everything he experienced after the race.

He just wished his enjoyment of the experience would have taken place sooner.

"I was probably too serious," Rod said. "I needed to relax more and go with the flow, but I didn't do that."

Nonetheless, it wasn't a total downer for Rod. He made new friends who he plans to keep in his rolodex for the rest of his life.

"I became good friends with a lot of people, especially the guys in the 800," Rod said. "We're thinking about teaming up and going to the World Games [next summer] and run in the 4x800 [3,200 relay]."

Rod's speciality is the 800, but he can hold his own in the distance races, too. He placed seventh overall and first in the male 60-64 age group with a time of 20:10 in the Autism 5K race June 17 in downtown Akron.

Although his daughter graduated from Hudson three years ago, Rod still keeps tabs on the Explorers and Lady Explorers.

He considers Hudson's distance coach and former pro cyclist, Ed Hoffmeier, a close friend.

"Eddie was my daughter's coach and my coach, too," Rod said. "Eddie kept me going. Eddie and my daughter are definitely good influences and my wife has been very supportive."

Rod also had some powerful conversations with his good friend, Bill Gawne, who is the former head coach of the Hudson Youth Running Program.

"Bill was a huge supporter and he helped me keep my mind straight during my training," Rod said. "He talked me off the ledge quite a few times."

When Rod tells people he's a runner, they often get the wrong idea.

"They say, 'Oh, you do marathons,'" he said. "I tell them, 'No, I do track.' "A lot of people run 5Ks, 10Ks or half marathons. There aren't a lot of people in track and field. There are a couple of meets in Cleveland, but the competition isn't that strong."

Don't expect Rod to sit home after getting his bronze medal. He plans to do the Cleveland Triathlon, which is scheduled for July 23.

Rod is expected to compete in the SuperSprint event, which is set to begin at 7 a.m.

The SuperSprint event is a 300-yard swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a 1-1/2-mile run.

Rod won't take the triathlon nearly as seriously as he took the National Senior Olympics, but the top priority remains the same.

"I'll be loose and I'll have fun," he said. "But I still want to win."

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