WWII veteran celebrates 97th birthday with fitness challenge

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 12:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2023 at 12:24 PM EDT
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PHOENIX, Ariz. (KNXV) – A World War II veteran in Arizona celebrated his birthday with a feat of strength.

Dave Keaggy made an ambitious goal that would be difficult for most people look easy as he turned 97 years old.

He warmed up his body before he started the annual challenge he began with 85 push-ups in under a minute when he was in his 20s.

“I’ve been doing something like that ever since,” Keaggy said. “And that’s a long time ago.”

Whether it’s jumping out of an airplane for his 70th birthday, bench pressing 225 pounds for his 82nd, or 83 straight push-ups at 90, Keaggy’s always on the hunt for something different.

This year he’ll carry 100 pounds for 100 yards – an ambitious goal but far from surprising.

Since his time in the Air Force, he’s pushed his body to the limits which is a key, he says, to staying young.

“It works. And I recommend it for anybody who wants to live to be 100, and I will,” Keaggy said.

By the time he took his first steps in the challenge, dozens began chanting his name. Plodding along with a 40-pound dumbbell in one hand, a 30-pound in another and 15 pounds of ankle weights around each leg, Keaggy made it look easy.

The 97-year-old finished with just enough breath to blow out the candles.