Fort Worth Man Turns 100 Day Before Participating in Cowtown 5K

'I just hope the old legs will hold up,' Ernie Lacroix says

A Fort Worth man who celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday plans to race in the Cowtown Marathon 5K on Saturday but predicted he will come in last.

"I'm ready. I just hope the old legs will hold up," said Ernie Lacroix during his birthday celebration at a south Fort Worth independent living facility.

Organizers made a special jersey just for him.

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"It’s my birthday," the shirt says. "Unstoppable since 1919."

Lacroix said he plans to walk the race.

"I tell everybody in the thing, 'Go home and tell everybody you're not last because Ernie Lacroix will be,'" he said.

Last or not, he plans to finish.

"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I just enjoy being out with all the crowd and everything. I'm not out to prove anything."

Friends and family members sang "Happy Birthday" to him at a party Friday afternoon.

"I wake up in the mornings saying, 'Holy smoke, 100 years old!'" Lacroix said. "It's beyond comprehension really. I used to think 60 was the end of the road."

Ernie was born in 1919, the year Woodrow Wilson was president and the League of Nations was formed.

He became a combat pilot in World War II.

"76 missions in Italy and southern France," he said.

He then worked in the printing business until he was 70.

"The only reason I retired was they changed management and I didn't like the new management," he said.

His wife Helen died four years ago after a 69-year marriage.

"She was a sweetheart, I'll tell you," he said.

Lacroix said he has no secret to longevity but has never smoked or drank and enjoys walking and exercising.

"And I'm still driving," he said. "I've got one more year on my license. We'll see what happens."

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