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Blackfoot man skates 8,000 miles

As soon as 79-year-old J.T. Watts crossed his self-made finish line on Friday, his wife let out a “woo hoo!” In under 12 years, Watts was able to skate a total of 8,000 miles.

While today it seems Watts has a full grasp on rollerblades, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with them at first.

“(On my) first day I fell down four times, tore my new pants and bloodied my palms and elbows,” Watts said.

Despite the rough patch, Watts said he continued because skating fascinates him, saying, “The feel of rolling along, I can’t even describe it.”

Watts skates at least six months out of the year and every time he goes to skate he tries to log about 15 to 20 miles in a journal. Over the years he’s accumulated five journals filled with his logs.

When he first started logging his miles, he had his sights on a smaller goal.

“When I hit 1,000 I thought I was really doing great and then I aimed for 5,000,” Watts said. “I just kept going.”

Now with 8,000 under his belt, he already has his sights on the next mark.

“I’d like to hit 12,000 miles because that would be halfway around the earth,” Watts said.

Watts also likes to go long distances on his bike. Five years ago, he rode from Salt Lake City, Utah, to North Platte, Nebraska. The trip is about 659 miles long.

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