For Spike Lee, it’s gotta be the shoes — but for Jerry Davis, it’s definitely the Speedo.
In warm weather, the local celebrity jogger does his normal Chehalis route in little more than a skimpy pair of black trunks, although he adds a few items of clothing in winter.
“I wear gloves — gloves and sometimes a hat,” Davis said last week at his Market Boulevard apartment.
Last spring’s media coverage by this newspaper and a Portland television station shifted the tide of local opinion in favor of the 68-year-old, who was previously berated in public with less-than-kind gestures. Basically, people would throw things at him.
“I’ll still get the occasional person who thinks my running attire is just unbelievable, and that I should be wearing something else, but I don’t pay much attention to that. All in all, it has been better,” Davis said. “For awhile there, I was getting stopped everywhere. People wanted to have their picture taken with me, or for me to sign this or sign that.”
Last spring, Davis received a standing ovation from a track meet crowd at W.F. West High School as he was running by, and he has been asked to run in benefit races put on by companies such as I-5 Toyota, which commissioned a new Speedo for Davis with the company logo printed on the back.
Davis says his biggest fans tend to be teen girls.
“I’m to the point now where I’m asking them if they’re 16 or older,” Davis said.
Davis said he primarily runs in Chehalis, but don’t be surprised to see him in Centralia or Rochester as well. The ex-Marine had both legs crushed during bicycle and motorcycle accidents in the 1990s, and he uses running as a way to overcome the injuries and keep himself strong.
“I’m just going to keep pushing myself, running longer and longer,” he said. “I’ve got to keep going.”
Dan Schreiber: (360) 807-8239