Southeast Missouri man is a worldwide competitor at 71

Friday, September 27, 2013 | 12:33 p.m. CDT

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Bill Logan doesn't know what it means to slow down.

An avid cyclist and runner, Logan has been a dedicated participant in athletic competitions since his high-school days. But high school has long since passed for the 71-year-old Perry County resident who in August won the gold medal in his age group at the 2013 Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa, Canada, the Southeast Missourian reports.

"What I enjoy most is seeing how far I can push my body," Logan said. "I've made a pact with the good Lord that if he continues to bless me with good health, I'll keep training."

Pushing one's body is the central characteristic of the duathlon, which consists of a 10-kilometer run, a 25-mile bike ride and then a 5-kilometer run. The event is similar to a triathlon, though no swimming is involved.

"A biathlon is run-ride-run, not swim-ride-run," Logan said. "For me, the hardest part is that last 5K run. My legs feel like jelly."

Originally from Lebanon, Ind., Logan said his interest in athleticism and physical fitness can be traced to his football and track-running days in high school. After Logan enrolled at Indiana University, he developed a love for cycling that has remained strong throughout the years.

"I competed for four years with my fraternity team in IU's Little 500, a 50-mile bike-racing event," he said. "It's a big deal at Indiana. We raced in front of crowds of almost 30,000 people." The annual race was featured in the 1979 movie "Breaking Away."

After graduating from Indiana with a master's degree in health education, Logan participated in bike racing in Racine, Wis., where he was teaching junior-high physical education. He also joined the official United States cycling organization and competed in about 25 races per year in the U.S. and Canada.

"My wife and I would leave every Friday to go to a race," he said. "Every weekend we were traveling somewhere."

Logan said that his most successful year in cycling came in 1971, when he tied for the best all-around rider in the U.S.

"The key was to always try to finish in the top five," Logan said. "You have to finish in the top five or it becomes really difficult to contend for best all-around."

Logan moved in 1980 to Cape Girardeau, where he began a 20-year career at Saint Francis Medical Center as a respiratory therapist and a nurse. And if his continued passion for cycling wasn't enough, Logan also became interested in running, and in 1990 he started competing in duathlons and marathons, the 26-plus mile road races.

"I was about 50 when I started doing that," he said. "For a single event like the marathon, things are kind of simple; you just run. But for a duathlon, you have to blend things together. For instance, you have to be careful about the transition time when you change from your running shoes into bike shoes and helmet and then back into your running shoes after the bike ride."

Logan retired in 2007 after serving as fitness director at HealthPoint in Cape Girardeau, but he didn't retire from participating in duathlons around the world in countries including Spain and Switzerland. Before his triumph in the 2013 Duathlon World Championships, Logan also finished second in the 2012 world championships in Nancy, France, after he won his age group in the U.S. duathlon nationals in Tucson, Ariz.

"I wasn't surprised that he continued to compete," said Amy Sutherlin, fitness manager at the Cape Girardeau HealthPoint. "He's a pretty amazing guy, and I don't see any signs of him slowing down."

Sutherlin said that in his role of fitness director at HealthPoint, Logan was always giving advice to others about duathlons and cycling.

"He would do it whether it was about competitions or just one person asking questions," she said. "He has a passion for helping others become the best they can be."

Ever busy, Logan is coaching a team of cyclists from St. Louis and often travels with them to their competitions. He also has taught a class on American health care at Southeast Missouri State University since 1992.

Logan said that while he will continue his training regimen of running and cycling five days a week, he isn't sure if he will participate in the 2014 Duathlon World Championships in May in Pontevedra, Spain.

"I just don't know," he said. "We'll have to wait and see."

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