And beat him he did, by nearly 16 minutes.
Grandfather and grandson were on opposite ends of the age spectrum for the event -- Bliss, 12, was the youngest pre-registered walker in the half marathon, while Woods, a 74-year-old Bridgeport resident, was the oldest local participant.
The overall oldest walker was Jack McClain, 90, of Granville, Ohio. He was honored prior to the Half Marathon Walk with an introduction by Race Director R. "Scat" Scatterday and a hearty round of applause from the participants.
Brandon Bliss finished with a time of 3:02:35, compared to Woods' 3:18:18. Caught in the middle of the grandfather/grandson rivalry was Brandon's father, Phil Bliss, who crossed the finish line in 3:06:20.
Brandon and his father were waiting for Woods in front of WesBanco Arena, and upon his arrival there were hugs and handshakes all around.
"I don't feel too bad. I'm glad it's over with," said a sweaty, but smiling Woods after the race. He has participated every year since the walking event was added to race day activities.
Brandon said he was inspired to sign up for the Ogden race after beating his grandfather in the Rails to Trails 5K Walk in Barnesville held earlier this month, though his margin of victory that day was a bit slimmer -- only about a minute.
Prior to the event, he said he was most looking forward to "coming down the hill (near the finish line) and seeing everybody watching and cheering for me."
Brandon said he likes walking because he enjoys the way it makes him feel, and he also plays golf at least two times per week.
The love of walking apparently runs in the family. Woods said he tries to walk four to six miles each day to stay in shape, although he's had two knee surgeries over the past two years, and had a pacemaker put in just last November.
"As long as I can go, I'll go," he said of his continued participation in Wheeling's race events. "I just try to do better than the year before."
Woods has competed in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon and the Senior Olympics in addition to the Ogden race. He said the Wheeling course is "the most challenging there is," pointing out the difficult task of ascending 29th Street Hill heading toward Bethlehem.
But "there's always a good crowd up there to cheer you on," he added.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Three generations are represented Saturday just beyond the finish line of Saturday's Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Walk. Pictured are Bridgeport residents Rollie Woods, left, his grandson Brandon Bliss and Brandon's father, Phil Bliss.