Jed Mescon isn't your typical runner, but if you really want to get down to it, he's not your typical 54-year-old American male either.
This guy has been part of the television news scene in Chattanooga for almost 27 years and he's making quite a name for himself with radio shows as well, but he really didn't intend on being in the Scenic City this long when he and his wife Phyllis first moved here in 1987.
"I thought I might be here a year, but I've been really happy in Chattanooga and that's why we stayed. I think I'll stay on TV until the rest of my hair falls out," joked the Atlanta native who serves as the news host for Eyewitness Today on Channel 3 and is also a host for 3 and You around noon.
Jed is one of the best in the business. With all due respects to another famous Chattanoogan named Luther, Jed is probably one of the most popular newsmen in the business.
He knows everyone. Or maybe we should say that everyone knows him. But for a guy who graduated from Arizona State in 1982 with a degree in broadcast journalism and was a cheerleader for the Sun Devils more than 30 years ago, he's still a great cheerleader as he promotes everything good about Chattanooga.
In addition to his duties at Channel 3, he hosts five radio shows a week on 102.3 and he also works in the development office at Chattanooga State.
He's also a pretty good runner.
And Jed is really his first name. Not to be confused with that Clampett fellow on the Beverly Hillbillies, this guy is officially named Jed Harrison Mescon and he's the middle of three children.
Jed says that he hates competition and that he's never been competitive, but just go out for a run with him and form your own opinion.
He's the only guy in the world who will be setting the pace about four or five steps ahead of everyone else and be complaining about how he's running too fast.
His running habits are on the unique side as well. He does most of his running on a treadmill at the Rush, but it is also a regular with a group on Signal Mountain that runs every Sunday morning. And he never runs alone.
"I'm a member of the Rush downtown and I think I'm the only member there without a tattoo or a piercing," he admitted.
"I think I've been running since I was 10. My family is obsessive compulsive about exercise and I was just trying to keep up with my father. I too am obsessed with exercise, but I do it so I can eat. I like running for the social aspect," he said earlier this week while eating lunch at 2 Squares on Amnicola Highway.
"A lot of my best friends are runners. I love running with people who are good story tellers, but I don't want to talk about politics, religion or women's issues because the pace will increase and they'll kill you.
"I have a radio show on Saturday morning and I really miss running with that group from the downtown Y on Saturday mornings. Bill Brock is one of my favorite people and that was always a great way to start my morning," he said with a laugh.
Jed has run two marathons in his life, the first at Chickamauga and the second in Chicago.
"They were both under 3:45. Pat Hagan talked me into the first one at Chickamauga while we did the one in Chicago for the Leukemia Foundation. Now it's six miles and that's it. I get off the treadmill, shower and eat lunch. I run for the sandwich that's waiting for me in the truck," he said after taking a big bite out of his chicken salad sandwich on Wednesday afternoon.
"I don't like to run by myself as I get into this mental war with myself that tells me I can't do it. Sometimes I do a workout on the Eliptical machine, but I'm boring when I exercise. I go in, get it done, shower and eat my lunch within 54 minutes. I take short showers because I'm not very tall," he joked.
When Jed isn't exercising or working, he enjoys reading a good non-fiction book and he loves working in his yard.
"I never did that growing up, but I love working in my yard as I make my neighbors green with envy. I spend a lot of money buying flowers at the local nurseries," he continued.
Jed and his lovely wife Phyllis have been married for 24 years and they are the proud parents of a 23-year-old daughter Caroline, who is making a name for herself in Los Angeles after graduation from Elon.
Jed is also a huge animal lover, who like Luther, has found homes for thousands of dogs and cats in the Chattanooga area.
The Mescon household is always interesting as they have three dogs and three cats.
Mr. X is one of those dogs, a Jack Russell Terrior mix.
Phyllis is the one who picks out the names, but Mr. X is the only one I named. We were fostering him for a short time and didn't want to get too attached, so that's why he's Mr. X. After two years, I think he's ours," he smiled.
Other dogs have names like Arlo and Thelma while another one in the past was a big lovable puppy named Melvin, who loved to ride in his truck and go swimming at Rainbow Falls. His three cats are named Mavis, Duck and Goose.
"I lead a pretty boring life, but I have a great job at Channel 3. I get up at 2:45 every morning so I can be at work by 4 and I'm normally in bed by 7:30 or 8 when I don't have other conflicts," he added.
Asked to name three words to describe himself, he said "Zest For Living," which may have been the most accurate statement he made all day.
"I'm a great sales person. Some of my best story ideas come when I'm running on the treadmill, but I'm so happy that Caroline has that same drive to succeed. She's not afraid to take risks and she's never been without a job. There's nothing better in life than having a happy child, but she's a super hero to me.
"I've lost a few pounds through the years with my exercising, but there's nothing worse than sitting at the anchor desk while you're wearing tight clothes. Loose clothes and a headful of hair is all I want in life," he concluded.
Jed Mescon is a true ambassador for Chattanooga. He's the absolute best at what he does and he always does it with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He's never in a bad mood or he never shows it if he is.
And you can bet that there is no boredom when he's in your running group. He'll talk about anything and there will be no lull in conversation, but don't even think about bringing up politics, religion or anything else controversial because the pace will surely increase.
And Jed will be the one leading the way.
(This is the 16th in a series of runners in the Chattanooga area. If you have someone who you think might make an interesting feature, email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)