Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Reignites Wade Keller’s Passion for Running

For the 6th Annual Gulf Coast Runners Thanksgiving Race, 720+ eager runners registered for the actual race, which was held at Naples Cambier Park on Thanksgiving morning. The run/walk 2-mile course took the runners through Naples’ downtown neighborhood. Proceeds from the race benefited St. Matthews House, and Moe’s Southwest Grill also donated 1 pound of rice/beans for every registered runner.

Congratulations to all the Marco Island Residents

The Poling family of Drs. Patty and Robert Poling, Maura Rose Poling, Eileen Poling, Margaret Poling, Stephen Rakoczy, Pam Rakoczy, Michelle Hurtley, Lori Larkin, Jennifer Stonebreaker, Tara Snyder, Paul Tateo, Dawn Snyder and Wendy McCarty. The start line was staggered and a virtual race option was offered.

For Wade Keller, who just turned 75 years young days earlier, the 2020 Thanksgiving 2-mile Turkey Trot was his first race since 2000. 

Race Start – Staggered.

Wade started running 45 years ago in Columbus Georgia. Since 1975, Wade has been a veteran marathon runner with numerous Half Marathons—10ks and 10 milers. Wade admits that he loves to run. He commented that running is pain, but for Wade, the rewards are health, “runners high” called endorphins and the personal achievement of winning. 

In 1995, Wade moved to Marco Island and met his wife Sue in August 1997, and three months later they were married. Wade’s other passion is writing and he’s been writing personal memoirs of other people until he had a stroke in 2010.

Together, Wade and Sue have written over 33 personal memoirs. He is currently finishing a personal memoir of Wade and Sue Keller.

Wade remembered running the 2000 New Year’s Day 5K at Naples’ Lowdermilk Park with his wife Sue. A bone spur knocked him out from running for a while.

A series of obstacles prevented him from running again, and in the summer of 2014, he tried to get back to running, but a lower back pain kicked in. To identify the degenerative discs, the X-rays revealed he had cancer in his right kidney. For Wade, this was pure luck. Without the X-ray, the cancerous kidney would not have been found. In December 2014, about 1/3 of his right kidney was chopped off. Running was off the table. 

The lower back pain continued and Wade tried all kinds of injections and remedies. His life revolved around his back pain and he could only walk.

Another issue also plagued Wade which kept him in tremendous pain constantly. On a Friday night in August 2019, a trip to the Emergency Room of Physicians Regional revealed that he had a twisted colon and ended up having surgery. The surgery removed 6 inches from where the colon was twisted.

Three to four months later, Wade noticed that his back pain was gone. He started power walking and then jogging, but again, a hernia issue needed medical attention. 

Cut to this year, COVID-19 happened. Wade, feeling much like his 1975 self, started running regularly in May 2020. Wade also lost a lot of weight and to help him train better, he invested in a Whoop wrist fitness tracker that tracks his workouts, sleep and recovery and he is never without it.

Finish race photo with Michelle Hurtley and son Jonny with Wade Keller. Michelle finished 2nd in her Age Group. Wade wearing an orange running shirt from 1975 from Columbus Track Club.

To train for the November Turkey Trot, Wade challenged himself with 4-mile runs and added regular high-intensity interval training at an aerobic rate for speed. Wade is a “blood and guts” kind of runner. He was well prepared for the 2-miler and came in First in his Age Group (75-79). 

Wade wants to specialize in the shorter races such as 5ks and he prefers the actual race, running with other runners for competition. His goal is an 8 minute per mile pace in a 5k. 

For the last 20 years, his other passion is chess, and with COVID-19, his schedule for the Chess Club has been suspended. He is planning on starting it up again, and for those interested, please email Wade Keller at

One response to “Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Reignites Wade Keller’s Passion for Running”

  1. Carol Douthit says:

    Way to go Bo. Wish I had your energy!!!

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