Birthday 5K raises money for Special Olympics Kentucky and Hindman Settlement School

WATCH | Men host birthday 5k to raise money for KY Special Olympics
Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 10:10 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For some people, running a 5k keeps them busy and active. For Leo McMillen and Bernie Cornett, it keeps them young.

“It’s nice, and we enjoy it. Good company and good friends,” Leo McMillen said.

The two friends are no stranger to the 3.1-mile run, having ran it almost every weekend this year.

But this race was different than others. There were dozens of people coming out to run alongside the birthday boys.

Leo and Bernie just turned 85 and 86-years-old.

“It’s unreal. It’s amazing.” McMillen said.

“Wonderful, really. Just good friends. We love all these people. They’re runners, so it’s great.” Cornett added.

Cornett’s granddaughter, Marianne Phelps, was at the event as well as many other members of her family.

“You don’t really have an excuse if your 85-year-old grandfather is out running. You’re like alright, we can figure out the energy,” Marianne Phelps said.

Friends say the pair motivates them every time they lace up their sneakers to hit the pavement.

There are rarely any days off for the two...even for two-time cancer survivor Bernie, who raced today while in remission.

“My oncologist said ‘Bernie keep running!’ That’s what I’m doing, with this guy,” Cornett said.

Not only is this race about their birthdays, but it’s also about helping people in the community.

The event benefits Special Olympics Kentucky and the Hindman Settlement School in Eastern Kentucky, which was heavily damaged during the floods this summer.

Even though Leo and Bernie are usually the ones inspiring others, they said the charities and the friends are what keep their feet moving.

“The people that we know so well that we’ve run with for years and years, it’s just good. And after the races in the morning, we go for breakfast!” McMillen said.

Leo and Bernie say they just feel so blessed to have a reason to keep hitting the road.