Running, biking and lifting keep 73-year-old Gilroy man young

By Lauren Jones
At the age of 73, working out five days a week for two hours a
day, is something that is a major part of Marvin Thomas’ life. With
a sitting heart rate of 49 beats per minute, he has exercised his
way to a healthy future. In fact he hopes to live to the age of
100.
By Lauren Jones

At the age of 73, working out five days a week for two hours a day, is something that is a major part of Marvin Thomas’ life. With a sitting heart rate of 49 beats per minute, he has exercised his way to a healthy future. In fact he hopes to live to the age of 100.

He began working out about 25 years ago when lifting heavy appliances on a daily basis prompted back problems.

“I had a back injury that I wanted to fix,” said Thomas, about his start.

He eventually found the workouts enjoyable.

Thomas was born in Portland, Ore., and raised in Tulelake, in Northern California near the Oregon border.

He grew up during World War II, near the Tulelake War Relocation Camp.

He can still remember Japanese families who were taken from their homes and forced to stay at the concentration camp. Japanese children needed somewhere to attend school so many who were part of the relocation camp attended the same school as he did.

In a boarding house in 1957, Thomas met his wife of 47 years, Roxy. Soon after, the two were married and decided to relocate to Gilroy.

He and his wife had three girls, Karen, Kathy and Katie, all of whom are grown and have families of their own.

He began working for a garlic company when he first moved to Gilroy, but after a while he felt he needed to do something else with his life. So, he started his own appliance business called Thomas Appliances. It was about that time, when he was 50, that his back began hurting.

He started watching fitness shows with his wife every morning before work and became interested in physical fitness.

“He’d get up every morning at 6am and watch (fitness shows),” his wife said with a smile.

It was just the beginning of a weekly routine that Thomas would follow. After owning the company for 25 years he retired and felt that his health was still a good reason to stay fit.

Now, Thomas works out at a local gym two days a week. Every Thursday he runs with a friend from Mantelli Drive to Burchell Road and back, a distance of 9.5 miles.

“We’ve done it in 26 degree weather,” Marvin said.

There is no slowing Thomas down when it comes to fitness.

He does home work outs and aerobics three days a week, stationary bicycling for an hour, and some light weight lifting to stay toned.

“I think it’s wonderful that he takes such good care of his body, but sometimes he goes overboard,” Roxy said laughing. “He wants to live to be 100 but I’m not sure I do.”

Saturdays are when Thomas has the most fun. He and a small group called the Yellow Jackets – made up of men at least 10 years his junior – ride their bikes 20 miles or more.

The group got their name from wearing bright yellow jackets in order to stay visible to passing cars.

“It’s the camaraderie and bonding with a small group of men that I like,” said Thomas.

The group has trained for yearly events such as the Wildflower ride, in Chico.

It is a 62-mile ride that takes place in April. When training for these events Thomas rides 40 to 50 miles at a time.

Though to most people Marvin Thomas’s age may make him an unlikely candidate for such physical activities, there is no doubt that this 73 year-old man has the drive and determination of someone half his age.

“I like being around younger people,” Thomas said of his workout partners. “It keeps me young.”

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