KAYSVILLE -- She is known as "Colleen the Running Queen."
As an 8-year-old, Colleen Fechser made the decision never to be overweight. Now at 76, Fechser is a petite runner and likely the oldest runner in this year's Davis County Walks 5K Walk and Run.
The family event, which also includes Fun Races for kids, is in its seventh year. It begins at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 20 at the Legacy Center in Farmington. There is no registration fee for senior citizens.
Fechser has run every year and three years ago took first place for women in her age group.
The run has two age groups, said event organizer Jessica Hardcastle, community health educator for the Davis County Health Department.
"She is a little spitfire. She always makes us aware she is here," Jessica said of Colleen.
Colleen runs in the 60-and-older age group, so she is competing with younger runners. The other group is for runners age 59 and younger. In past years, she has been the oldest female runner in the Davis County Walks program, according to Hardcastle.
As a child, Fechser attended a family reunion where she made the conscious decision to never be fat.
"My mother's family is all heavy," Colleen said. "My aunts called me over and said, 'Look at us, this is the way you will look in a few years. You will be just like us.' From that day on, I began counting calories."
Fechser acquired a calorie book and made sure she didn't overeat. Her love of running began 44 years ago when her husband was in the Air Force.
"When the Air Force started a running program, I started running. I thought, if they can run, I can run." Fechser said.
She even runs while on vacation.
"I have run on every track at every high school in Utah," she smiled. "It gets in your blood."
When living in Iceland, she really watched her calories and often ate popcorn for lunch because it is full of fiber and not many calories. The weather was so cold and windy that she didn't think she could run outside. But one day she saw Marines out running and thought to herself, "If they can, I can."
It is not just calorie-counting and running that keeps this senior citizen in shape, however. Fechser does 50 sit-ups, 50 chin-ups, 50 push-ups, 120 jumping jacks, 120 lunges and jumps a rope 120 jumps each day, as well as goes to the Layton High track to run three miles six days a week. She takes Sunday off and only walks that day.
"It keeps me in pretty good shape," Fechser said.
She takes seriously the advice of former American fitness, exercise and nutritional expert, Jack LaLanne: "Don't let anything interfere with your running. Just do it."
"If I am miserable, my husband tells me to go out and run," Fechser said.
"I wouldn't want to stop her, she's addicted," said her husband Allan Fechser. "I think it's good."
If the weather is snowy and windy, she goes to the Kaysville Cemetery, which is closer to her home, instead of the track for her run.
"My doctor told me not to run more than three miles a day," Fechser admitted.
So she doesn't. But she wants to keep running for the rest of her life.
In 1980 Colleen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from the University of Utah. She later went back and received a certificate in health and nutrition.
Dressed in a purple shirt and shorts, she can be seen nearly every morning on the Layton High School track. You will know her car by the license plate: Fit2run.