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Reunion ride

BY Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

For his high school reunion, David Keeney planned to ride his bicycle from Chicago to Marion in an effort to encourage his former classmates to keep active.

This would not have been the first time he’s spent hours on the seat of a bike.

Keeney said he’s ridden from Marion to Dayton, Ohio at the age of 12.

He rode to Florida at the age of 15.

He also rode across Europe in the ’70s.

Though he wanted to bike to his reunion, Keeney faced a number of challenges, including two flat tires, that made it difficult.

After 27 hours in, he fixed his tires with an inner tube from Walmart and turned around.

Although Keeney had to drive to Marion, he has always been in motion, finding a balance between life as an accountant and biking and running in marathons.

Now he hopes to pass on that mentality to his high school friends.

“My goal is to help people look better, feel better and do better than they were the day before,” Keeney said.

Between cycling and adapting a plant-based diet, Keeney said he’s in the best shape of his life.

Part of his motivation is to think “this day will be more magnificent than the day before.”

Keeney said he tries to live as Christ-like as possible.

He strives to take care of his body and mind, believing the Lord has given him the perfect temple and the perfect nourishment.

“You’ve heard of ‘what would Jesus do?’ I like to ask myself, ‘would you feed this to Jesus?’” Keeney said.

One way he leads a Christ-like life is by following the Platinum Rule, a variation of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as they would want done to them.”

One way he follows this rule is to share his knowledge with those who want to learn.

Connie Gorrell, one of Keeney’s classmates since junior high, said Keeney wanted to inspire fellow 1972 graduates because he cares for them.

“We’re like a large family. … We’ve been together for a long, long time,” Gorrell said.

One person who’s known Keeney for what feels like a lifetime is Tim Purdom, his best friend and nextdoor neighbor since fourth grade.

“I’m sure he’s anxious to visit his classmates,” Purdom said.

Purdom is also a cycling enthusiast, having previously done century rides, including a ride from Gaston to Richmond and back, totaling more than 100 miles.

While Keeney is back in town, he and Purdom visited places they used to frequent, including their childhood homes, and Keeney’s father, who’s buried in the Marion National Cemetery.

Though Keeney attributes his enthusiasm for running and cycling to his family, one of his goals is to inspire those around him.

Keeney hopes to gather supporters and runners to participate in charity events in the future, but for now, he plans to catch up with his classmates.