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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Tony Taddeo is 91-years-old and it was after having an episode of severe chest pain that doctors discovered he had a faulty heart valve. While health workers scheduling surgery to correct the problem isn’t surprising — what Taddeo vowed to do after is.

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Taddeo may be inching toward being a centenarian, but he’s also an avid runner.  It was while preparing for surgery that Taddeo learned chief cardiac surgeon Michael Mack, at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, was also a runner. The doctor then had a ‘light bulb’ moment.

“We started talking about running and so I said to him at that point, ‘I’ll tell you what, as soon as we get this valve done I’ll race you in a 5K race’ which is the distance that he ran regularly,” Dr. Mack recalled. “So it started out as a challenge even before he got his procedure done.”

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Today Taddeo, Mack and dozens of other doctors and nurses laced up and celebrated Taddeo’s road to recovery by logging 3.1 miles! The nonagenarian never gave up his love of running and today he led the pack as everyone ran laps around the hospital parking lot.

Taddeo had his heart valve replaced in January. Generally the operation requires open heart surgery, but a new non-invasive procedure meant no incisions. With the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure the entire operation usually takes less than an hour.

Taddeo was home one day after the procedure and was back running a few weeks later. Nancy Taddeo said her husband’s secret to good health is eating sardines, and working out seven days a week.

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Whatever he is dong must be working, Taddeo says he has big plans for the big 1-0-0!  “I would like to run the Boston Marathon on my 100th birthday!”

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