Jon Wisser an Inspiration to Many

Jon Wisser, seen here cresting a hill at the 2016 Decker Challenge, where he won his age group.

We all have running heroes we admire and are inspired by. Longtime Austin runner Jon Wisser certainly fits that description for many folks.

Well respected in the community, Wisser has been a judge serving Travis County since 1975. He began as a justice of the peace, then was a county judge, and has been a district judge for more than 20 years. He is presently the senior active judge in the county.

And as a lifelong runner, at 71, he’s certainly well respected in the running community. Trim and fit as when he was a young soldier in the army in the Vietnam conflict, Wisser continues to place in the top of his age group, regularly turning in times that younger runners would be proud of. Just this past January, he notched a 1:53:31 at the 3M Half-Marathon, placing second in the 70-74 division.

Part of his life-long motivation stems from his upbringing.

“Both my parents were better athletes than I and beat me at everything until I was in my mid-teens,” said Wisser. “I suspect this is one of the reasons I suffer from low self-esteem. I really do not enjoy running that much but very much enjoy winning medals and trophies. Also, when I was a trial lawyer I had the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat in the courtroom. Once I became a judge, in 1975, I no longer had either; as a judge I was a bystander/umpire and not a participant. So running and tennis are my outlets for my competitive drive and help to elevate my self-esteem.”

Wisser is also still active as a judge, and takes great joy in officiating weddings—he practically does them every week.

In addition to his busy schedule as a judge, and jumping in local races, Wisser is also an avid tennis player, and a pretty competitive one at that.

“One reason I started to run, long, long ago, was to improve my tennis,” said Wisser, whose lifetime PR for the 5K is a swift 17:16. “I was very much a clay-court, baseline player who won matches by wearing down and outlasting my opponents. I used to think, when I was much younger, that very few people could beat me in a long match during the summer months. I do think tennis, singles that is, helps in running. Most current studies seem to indicate that short, intense, bursts of exercise are good for the muscles. However, I have come to believe that running longer distances isn’t all that good for your tennis.”

Though he certainly has no regrets about his long running career, he does have one regret—missing one Capitol 10,000 since the race started in 1978. Wisser is one of two folks—Harold Lindemann is the other—who have run every Cap 10 but one. “My wife said all good parents take their children to Disneyland and in 1990 she booked a trip to California without my realizing that it would cause me to miss the Cap 10,” said Wisser.

“I did manage to pick up medals in the Cap 10 for a dozen or so consecutive years and also have about 15 plastic, golden turkeys from the Turkey Trot,” said Wisser.  “This year I won my age group at Decker, came in 3rd in my age group at 3M, and 2nd in age group at Austin Marathon. Also, I won my age group in the Distance Challenge but that was not much of an accomplishment since I was the only guy in my age group who was standing at the end.”

Upcoming races: PACE Pfun Run 5K, Sat. May 6 at 9:00 a.m. (Pflugerville) Panther Pride 5K, Sat. May 6, 8:30 a.m. (New Braunfels)

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