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St. George • Jim Michie started running 28 years ago when he was overweight and unable to climb stairs without losing his breath.
He hasn't stopped since.
The 74-year-old Salt Lake businessman will run in his 50th marathon Saturday at St. George. His goal is to finish 26.2 miles in less than four hours and, of course, win his age group.
"He loves to run and has always been extremely competitive," said his son, James Michie, a Utah 3rd District judge.
"… He's the only man I know who was happy to turn 70 because, that way, he could run against older guys."
As a youngster, Jim Michie's family lived in a triplex on in Salt Lake City. He shared one bedroom with three siblings.
"They were quite poor," his son said.
Michie attended East High and excelled in wrestling. As a sophomore, he took third in the state.
"Wrestling is a lot like marathoning," he said, "because you don't have anybody to lean on. It's all you."
Michie's life changed the day he read in The Salt Lake Tribune or Deseret News he doesn't remember which one about a West High student who just received a scholarship to Columbia.
Michie recalls: "When I saw that article, I said, 'That's what I need because I don't know where I'm going to find money to go to college."
Michie did so well in high school he ended up with academic scholarship offers from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Columbia.
He picked Yale.
"He's one of these guys who came from nothing, literally, but excelled in his education and business," James Michie said.
After college, Jim Michie returned to Salt Lake, married and, with his wife, raised a family which includes five children. He worked as manager of a stock brokerage house but, in 1973, started his own business.
Today, with original partner Roger Thompson, he owns apartments throughout the western United States under the umbrella of TM Equities, Inc. As business boomed, however, Michie's weight ballooned. A friend suggested running as a possible solution.
"I said, 'No, I think that might be harmful to a person's health,'" Michie said. "But he kept insisting."
Michie started running when he was 46, even though it took him a month to go a mile without stopping and gasping for air.
"It was painful pitiful to watch," his son said.
By 1990, though, Michie ran in the St. George Marathon. He was 53.
A year later, he returned to St. George and ran the fastest marathon of his life 3:00.28.
"My first marathon was St. George, my fastest marathon was St. George and my 50th marathon will be St. George," Michie said.
Michie has also run marathons in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal, Paris and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Next year, he'll run in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Chicago and St. Petersburg, Russia.
"I'm having fun and I see the benefits," he said. "I take no pills. I feel good."
St. George Marathon
P Saturday, 6:40 a.m.
Where • Finish line at Worthen Park
Note • Entries capped at 7,400