PROFILE--Tommy Hughes holds the age-59 world record in the marathon, 2:27:59


Frankfurt Marathon, 2019. Photo by Keith McClure
(Apr. 2012) Ireland's Tommy Hughes has been on a record-setting spree of late. Last October, at 59, he ran 2:27:52 in the Frankfurt Marathon to set a single-age record. After turning 60 in early January, he set an over-60 record for 8K, clocking a 25:57. That's basically 5:12 pace for 5 miles at age 60. And Hughes thinks he can go faster. In fact, he was planning for a big effort in the London Marathon in mid-April ... but you know what happened to that and all the other springtime races. Hughes was an elite marathoner in his youth, but then took 16 years away from the sport--years 32 to 48--while he focused on his electrician business and trying to figure out a health problem--parathyroidism. Now he's making up for lost time, and dragging his 34-year old son, Eoin, along with him. Eoin ran 2:31:30 at Frankfurt last, giving father and son the F/S combined marathon record of 4:59:22.

Career/profession: I am a self employed electrician.

When and why did you start running? I started running in 1981 to loose some weight to play for my local Gaelic football team and soon realized I was better at the running.


Best races? I won the Marrakech Marathon in 1988 in 2.15.48 and was dubbed "The Marrakech Express." I also won the Dublin Marathon in 1991 in 2.14.46. The next year, I returned to Marrakech, and ran my PB 2.13.59, one second inside the qualifying time for the Barcelona Olympics. That got me selected to run the Olympic Marathon for Ireland. I finished 72nd in 2:32:55.

How much did you train then? Now? I ran about 100 mile a week. I tried to get it up to 140, but kept getting frequent injuries. I also had long gaps away from the sport due to work.

Now I run about 120 miles a week in build up to a marathon with a few sit-ups and press-ups and very little stretching.

Recent races? I have run 16.13 for 5km, 32.53 for 10km, 54.46 for 10 mile, 71.57 for half marathon and 2.27.52 for marathon, all world records for a 59 year old. Recently I ran 25.57 for 5 mile which was an over 60 8km world record.

I am running faster now because of getting a medical problem sorted (parathyroidism) so I am grateful for this. I drive myself on to do my best.

Any diet and/or weight changes? My weight has been much the same when I am training and racing. I do put weight on when I am working away from home. I eat a very balanced diet and take beetroot juice. I don’t take any supplements.


Tommy and Eoin Hughes
Injuries or health issues? The major health issue was the parathyroidism as it affected my mood, made me tired very quickly and other issues. It was detected when I gave a blood sample, and it showed up in the results.

Philosophy of running and life? Strive to do your best and to always enjoy your running. It's great to get out to the races, and meet lots of people of similar interests.

Running keeps me grounded and gives me a sense of well-being. It has saved my life over the years, mostly from alcohol. Running teaches you that no matter how far down you become, there is always a way out.

PROFILE--Charles Kastner has been running for 50 years


Mary and Charles Kastner,
post Jan. 1, 2000 marathon in
New Zealand
(Mar. 2020) Charles Kastner has played lots of roles throughout his life: Peace Corps volunteer (he started the first running program for blind students in the Republic of the Seychelles, and put together the country’s first wheelchair basketball team), investment banker, husband, father, marathoner, writer. He married his high school sweetheart (junior high actually). They have three children (all have run marathons and/or ultras) and five grandchildren. He lives in the same town where he grew up, Seattle. He calls his wife, Mary, his favorite running partner, though they now spend more time walking than running, since she has several autoimmune diseases. Between writing and fundraising for his wife’s disease, Kastner, now 65, is keeping busy and enjoying life.

Career/Profession? I am a writer. My latest books are Race Across America, and The 1929 Bunion Derby. For more, visit:  https://charleskastner.com 

When did you start running and why? In September 1970 when I was a skinny 15-year-old sophomore at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Washington. My PE teacher took one look at me, and

PROFILE--Rich Fargo has won 8 Escarpment Trail races, and is aiming higher

(Mar. 2020) Rich Fargo has one of the most impressive running resumes imaginable, and still very few have ever heard his name. Most notably, he's an eight-time winner of the Escarpment Trail Run, often called the "Boston Marathon of the Eastern trail races." Here's what you can expect: "The trail is viewed by many as an exaggeration of the term. It is extremely rocky and a runner must expect to navigate over boulders, downed trees, gullies and hidden roots the entire distance. Contestants must be prepared to deal with any of the forest's natural barriers, such as bees, slippery rocks, porcupines, black bears (not probable, but possible)." 

Yeah, that's Fargo's kind of race. He got a good start in the sport from his high-school xc coach, John J. Kelley, the 1957 Boston Marathon winner.

Career-profession? I worked in engineering for 36 years. Recently retired from Otis Elevator where I had many roles in new product development

When did you start running and why? I started running in Junior High School, because I enjoyed it, liked being

PROFILE--Mary Button ran 20 sub-3 marathons, and now walks nearly as much



(Mar. 2020) In her prime, Mary Button qualified for two Olympic Marathon Trials and recorded
a personal best of
2:42:11. Along the way, she ran 20 sub-3 marathons despite modest training of about 60 miles a week. Now 61, she is no longer running but often completes long, multi-day walk-hikes (caminos) in Europe. She says, "My philosophy of life (and running and walking and aging) is to savor the moment and live in the present. Always be grateful for your health, and don't put things on the back burner."

Career-profession? My husband and I operated a running apparel company, RaceReady for 18 years.
I am retired now, but I am an environmental and political activist an environmental and political activist
who serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the non-profit Friends of Griffith
Park (Los Angeles).

When and why did you start running? I running in high school in the fall of 1972 in southern New
Jersey when I was a freshman in high school. Our swim coach suggested we take up another sport in
order to become better swimmers. We had swim practice three times a week. It wasn’t called “cross training” back then, but the idea was

PROFILE--Jay Birmingham has been running for 62 years

Jacksonville Beach Run, 2017
(Mar. 2020) Jay Birmingham, of Fleming Island FL, was a track and cross country coach and teacher (biology, human anatomy, physiology) for 27 years at both the college and high school level. He also ran a running store in Jacksonville, FL, early in the running boom. He retired in 2018 and, now 75, has resumed running every day, and taken up piano, guitar, cooking, gardening, writing and travel. Among his many running achievements, Birmingham still holds the record for a solo, unsupported USA Transcon run. In 1980, he covered 2,964 miles in 71 days, 22 hours, 59 minutes.

When did you start running and why? April 1958 as part of my seventh-grade homeroom team in Wilmington, Ohio. Never stopped running. I'm proudest of my longevity in the sport.  I've always seen myself as a "full-spectrum" runner, competing with enthusiasm in

PROFILE--Gwen Jacobson has run 71 marathons in the last 10 years

(Feb. 2020) Gwen Jacobson has made up for lost time. In just 10 years of running, the 61-year-old has completed 71 marathons (the most in one year is 14); won the 2019 Minnesota Runner of the Year for W60-64; and tied for second in the United States (behind Joan Benoit Samuelson) and fourth in the world in for best women's marathon times in the 60-64 age group.  In her spare time during 2019, she completed her 50 States marathon tour, and set a personal best in the marathon.  She resides in Rochester, MN, but through running she has traveled the world.

Career? I retired on 12/31/2017 after a career of over 40 years in the insurance industry. In May of 2018 I went back to work as a supplemental employee for Mayo Clinic as a Member Service Rep at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, Mayo Clinic’s employee wellness center. I enjoy the benefits of a free gym membership as well as working with people and sharing my love of fitness.

When did you start running and why? I started running in January 2010 to train for a 5K race for a co-worker’s husband who was

PROFILE--Dr. John Scott runs for his health ... but mainly for others' health


Dr. John Scott, Myanmar
(Feb. 2020) Some of the runners we profile on this site have long and impressive running resumes. Others have been running for a long time without many road-race bragging rights. They stand out in other ways. Dr. John Scott of Quincy, IL, is in this corner. While he's been running for 40 years, his local health promotion and international medical-missionary work set him apart. "I believe health is physical, mental, and spiritual," says Scott, who turns 69 next week. And he lives his own words.

Career-profession? I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I am a fellow of American College of Physicians. I
have been in practice for 37 years, all in Quincy, IL.

When did you start running and why? I started in 1980 when we moved from the University of Missouri-Columbia to
Madison, WI for my residency program. I started because I ran to a code in the hospital, and the nurse asked if she should code me before the patient? Apparently, I was badly out of breath. That made me think I should begin actual running. 

How much did you run in your peak years, miles/week? In my peak years, I ran about 50-60 miles per week.

What were your top race performances or running achievements you are most proud of? My first marathon was in 1988. The weather was so bad the airport was closed for a time: cold and snowy. With terrible wind. But I finished. I have done two 24 hour ultra marathon equalizer races in Des Moines, Iowa. In October 2005 I placed 5th with 76.2 miles.

I like to run different races. My wife and I do international medical missions and in January, 2016, we participated in a running race in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. I ran a couple of the River to River relay races in southern Illinois – the Mississippi River to the Ohio River, a total of 80 miles total with 8 runners. 

I also had the great fortune of helping to start two local races. One was the area's only night race, but it no longer exists. The second is a fundraiser for Med Assist. It's called the "Bridge the Gap to Health" race. It crosses over the Mississippi two times. This coming May 16, 2020, is the 20th anniversary. In 19 years, we've raised $842,771.49 actual dollars, which has been leveraged into $19,863,459.79 worth of prescription medications for those benefiting from this program.

An estimate of your total lifetime running miles? Over 58,000

How much are you running and cross-training now? I am doing 15 miles per week now. Strength work? No. Stretching? Only when my muscles hurt.

Any recent race results? Bridge the Gap, May 2019, 5K in 36:39


Scott finishes the race he founded,
the "Bridge the Gap to Health."
Does it bother you that you are slower now? I have always felt that health is Physical, Mental and Spiritual, and running is health. I use this in my practice. I run for health, and races are my carrots/rewards. Don’t die. Just finish.

How have your diet and weight changed through the years, if at all? I am probably 20 pounds heavier. My diet is a local Mexican restaurant with pizza and beef nachos on the weekends. During the week, I eat Lean Cuisine or chili. I love to run outside in all four seasons here in Illinois. I do take a multivitamin and calcium.

What injuries or other health issues have you faced through the years? I suffered I had a T 7 compression fracture on 11-30-15. I had osteoporosis so I now take vitamin D, and multi vitamins with
trace elements. After being under the care of a Bone Health specialist at Barnes Hospital West in St. Louis, my dexa scans are phenomenal. I have endured bone-on-bone in my right knee for years. And all the common over-use injuries.

A favorite inspirational quote? "Health: It's physical, mental, and spiritual."

Three tips for hopeful lifetime runners? 
1--Speed kills. 
2--Do not compete.
3--Enjoy the outside world that the Lord created in all the glorious seasons.
Amby Burfoot, Candy Scott, John Scott,
Quincy Bayview Bridge across Mississippi.


How does running and fitness improve your life on a daily/weekly basis? I am not obese. It makes me take care of my health. I can still run the grandchildren and adult
daughters into the ground. My daughters and I can exchange running tips and stories. I am not a hypocrite to my patients. I practice what I preach. I encourage every patient to walk, to do their personal best. If they only walk to the refrigerator to grab a beer, and then to the bathroom to pee, I encourage them to walk around the block. 

For runners, I encourage them to do one more race above
what they have done. Running is a good time to remember to pray and be grateful.