For the past 40 years, Rex Joseph has been a member the University of Indianapolis community. When Joseph first stepped onto UIndy’s campus in 1978 for the preparation of a marathon he planned to participate in. Joseph, who keeps track of how many miles he runs and walks, has run 10, 500 miles and walked 16,000 miles on UIndy’s campus since 2015.
According to Joseph, he was looking for a place to train when his wife, Carol, told him about Indiana Central College. The campus was close to his home on the south side, where he still lives today. Joseph said that he felt welcomed from the moment he stepped onto campus—it was not only a place to exercise, but to make long lasting relationships.
Joseph said that he initially set a goal to run a marathon in all of Indiana’s 92 counties. Only 91, however, held marathons. Joseph said in November 1984, he completed that goal for all of the 91 counties of Indiana and managed to set up his own race for Ohio County in order to achieve his goal.
“Ohio county never had a race; I put on my own race and got 25 people strange enough to come,” Joseph said. “I still remember we came to the University of Indianapolis for all of us to get in my van and [travel] down there. It was here [UIndy] where I really got my workout to get ready to do that goal.”
Joseph’s family has continued to encourage him throughout his training. Joseph said that he has spiritual support from his wife, of more than 50 years, and three children. He said he hopes that he has passed something down to them. His daughter, Rebecca Wood, has begun to take after her father’s marathon running and said he has encouraged her change her fitness activity in her life.
“Dad has inspired me as a runner,” Wood said. “I am currently trying to run in all 50 states, a marathon or half marathon. I have completed almost half of the states. I love that my Dad has maintained a healthy lifestyle, and he has made exercise a priority in his daily routine.”
According to Wood, while walking around the track has been physically beneficial to her father, the true value of his time at UIndy are his relationships with the students and staff he sees regularly in the fitness facility.
“I believe that his time walking [and]running around the track has been thereuptic and enjoyable for him,” Wood said. “I know he also enjoys seeing the usual crowd at the fitness facility. Those folks have turned into his family away from family. I know he has always treasured his time at the university.”
When Joseph is not on the track, he works as UIndy men’s basketball team chaplain. For the past five years, Joseph has traveled to home and away games so that he can pray for the team before and after games and support them from the stands.
According to the Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard, Joseph’s influence has had a great impact on the team’s life as well as his own. Gouard said that sometimes he joins Joseph during his walks on the track to pray with him and clear his own mind.
Joseph said that Gouard is one of his closest friends and that the two have always been bonded through their faith. According to Gouard, this was the reason he asked Gouard to be the team chaplain.
“Five years ago, when I had a daughter who was going through some health problems, he [Gouard] sat down and prayed with me,” Joseph said. “I knew he was a Christian man and he said to me, in 2013, “Would you like to be the team chaplain?” So, for every home game and all the away ones, I’d go into the locker room beforehand and give the devotion.”
Gouard said that in addition to his personal bond with Joseph, he is appreciative of the guidance and support that Joseph makes available to the team.
“Rex serves as our team’s chaplain and my brother in Christ,” Gouard said. “He’s a really good friend of mine and we often share some good times together. There’s been times where we’ve had guys that needed an outside ear to listen to.”
Over the decades, Joseph has left his mark on UIndy’s campus. Consequently, according to Joseph, he was named an honorary UIndy Alumnus in 1986. According to Joseph, his relationship with UIndy has contributed massively to the life he lives today beyond just his physical wellness.
“It was exercising here at University of Indianapolis and alternating my diet that led me to be where I am today,” Joseph said. “The connection has been all the coaches, the students, the administers, and I have just been so blessed to know so many of these people.”