By Almeda Girod
Jack McMahon grew up in Pittsburgh. He was known as the “fastest guy in the neighborhood.” This led to participating in cross country and track in high school and a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh where he studied mechanical engineering.
He recently participated in the U.S. Track and Field Master Championships (for persons over age 40) hosted by the Potomac Valley Track Club of which Jack has been a member for 35 years. He won four races in his class of men ages 85-89.
Jack recalls as a 20-year old being “up to bat” at a sandlot game when he spied out of the corner of his eye 15-year old Fran and thinking “She is a cute girl.” They were married two weeks after her high school graduation. Jack was drafted into the Army and the couple lived in Detroit, Boston, and State College before moving to Rockville.
He taught mechanical engineering technology at University of the District of Columbia and also worked at the Department of the Navy. Fran became the mother of 10 children in 12 years. She later earned a nursing degree working at George Washington Hospital where a fringe benefit was that her children had free tuition to George Washington University. The “free tuition” doubled her yearly income on occasion.
Jack coached track and cross country to youth ages 8-15 through the Catholic Youth Organization. Fran and his children also became involved, making this a “family affair.” In the early 1970’s, as the “running craze” began, Jack resumed running. He has never had a serious injury, which he attributes to “picking the right parents.” Today, he remains at nearly the same weight as he was in college.
Jack and Fran have lived at Walden Court for eight years. Jack can be seen every other day running the perimeter of Riderwood or nearby parks and bike paths, and on alternate days working out in the Village Square Fitness Center.