PROFILE--Rich Castro has been running for 59 years

(June 2020) As a longtime resident of Boulder, CO, Rich Castro has been close to that community's many famous runners and races. More than just a participant, he has als
o launched and nurtured some of the most important initiatives. Today, at 72, he continues to run and compete vigorously, while also supporting many running events. He notes: "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” He also advises us to "invest in yourself. Take care of your body" and to connect with the global community.

Career-profession? I was fortunate enough to make a living as a recreational sports administrator at the University of Colorado for 34 years, while combining it with my passion for running. The university administration encouraged me, and that latitude was the cornerstone for the majority of my accomplishments.

How and why did you start running? I grew up in La Verne, CA a small town in southern California that had a great track history. The local hero was the Rev. Bob Richards, the first man on the Wheaties Box and

PROFILE--Neil Rosen has been running for 40 years

(June 2020) Neil J. Rosen seems to be a man of few words. That makes him like a lot of other runners. He began running 40 years ago, ran many strong races in the Philadelphia area (including a best marathon of 2:33:24), and now lives in Tucson AZ. At 67, he still races frequently, and wouldn't mind if he could turn back the clock a few years. "I detest getting older and slowing down," he admits. He keeps at it because he's inspired by the many stalwart age-group runners that he races against (or reads about in articles like this one.) Also, he's no quitter, believing that "The final chapter hasn't been written until you've given up."

Retired draftsman, aerospace telemetry.

When did you first start running, and why? I started running in April, 1980--40 years ago. First for

PROFILE--Barbara Latta has been running (and streaking) for 36 years

(May 2020) Barbara Latta has the second longest women's running streak in the world, having passed 13,300 days in a row (almost 36.5 years). She has run on every continent and in 55 countries. In her missionary work, she has landed in some dangerous places, requiring creativity. She ran on rooftops in Haiti, porches in Cuba and recruited the Ambassador to Lebanon as her running partner in Liberia. Latta, 78, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is also a member of the Citizens Emergency Response Team, a group of volunteers who are trained to help first responders in a major emergency.

Career/Profession: I am a retired elementary school librarian as well as a college reference librarian. But I have never retired

PROFILE--David Cook has been running for 42 years

No better prize than fresh lobstah.
(May 2020) David Cook started running in 1978, and didn't win any prizes for almost 40 years. He didn't run for the glory, he ran for the feel-good. Maybe that's one reason he's still going strong. Cook never ran more than about 22 miles a week, but he mixed it up with modest doses of cycling, swimming, and good humor. The latter is crucially important; don't we all know it! Cook's advice for other runners: "Don't take yourself too seriously," and "Be humble, and treat others kindly." We'd like to second those emotions.

Your career-profession? I spent the first 19 years of my career in shallow water oceanography working for Raytheon Co. in Newport RI. I switched to the environmental field in 1989, set up my own company, and have been an environmental consultant since that time. I do inspections of commercial properties, testing of soil and ground water, and cleanups. Before work, I grew up in Morristown, NJ, graduated from Hamilton College, and got a doctorate in geology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I moved to Connecticut in 1969, and have lived in Lyme since 1971.

When did you start running and why? I got into exercise early, and did swimming and cross country in high school and college. In my early working career, my exercise came from swimming during the lunch hour at the Newport YMCA. My brother in law talked me into trying a 5K

PROFILE--John Volkman has been running (and marathoning) for 39 years

(May, 2020) John Volkman, of Fresno CA, was sailing along pretty smoothly last fall, with more than 150 marathons in the bag in his 69 years, when he started feeling chest pains. He got himself to a cardiologist--smart guy, this John!--and learned that he needed surgery and a stent. This is perhaps the news most feared by runners, but Volkman didn't let it keep him down for long. On March 1 of this year, he returned to the site of his first marathon in 1981 (Napa Valley), and covered the distance yet again. He's also one of those guys who proposed to his wife in a marathon. She was waiting for him at the top of Heartbreak Hill in Boston; he got there, and dropped to one knee. Video links below. 

Career-profession? 36 years as a high school librarian

When did you start running and why? Dared by teacher/friend to run a 6 mile race because he said I wasn’t in very good shape for our city-league basketball team. That was in March 1980. Exactly a year later I ran my first marathon and broke 3 hours.

How much did you run in your peak years? 50-60 miles per week for 10 years and then I decided to get more

PROFILE: Covid-19 OR nurse Robin Venick has been running for 50 years

(Apr. 2020) Robin Venick is a prolific runner, having completed 68 marathons, including Comrades in South African, and 5 Ironman Triathlons. She loves a challenge, and that's what she facing now as an OR nurse at Manhattan's NYU Langone Medical Center during the Covid-19 pandemic. "I always try to remain calm and positive in these crisis situations," she says. "I’m a glass half full kind of girl." Venick, 57, lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jeff, also a runner. Both are also art lovers, so after every marathon in a new city, they visit local art museums.

Career-profession? (See above.) In normal times I do all types of open-heart surgery and specialize in congenital heart defects on babies. Also, we do a lot of heart and lung transplants. I grew up in Maryland and attended Johns Hopkins Hospital for my nursing degree.

When did you start running and why? I started running as a little girl, probably around 7, with all the boys

PROFILE--James Dill has been running--and walking--for 50 years

(Apr. 2020) James Dill trained over 100 miles/week in the early 1980s, ran a marathon PR of 2:18:45, and qualified for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Buffalo. He continued running hard for another 25 years, then switched to mostly walking to give his knees a break. Now 62, he lives in Richmond, VA, and has picked up fiction writing as a new passion, recently publishing his first novel, Racing Shadows (more below). He says he writes as he ran, with particularly long efforts on weekends. 

Career-profession? I am a nonprofit executive director (8 years) for Virginia’s small colleges. Prior to that I was a trust and investment officer with Wells Fargo Bank for 17 years.

When and why did you start running? I started running in 7 th grade junior high school (1970), although I always loved to run as a kid. I was not a ball sports kid, so running cross country appealed to me. After cross country, I went out for track, inspired by Frank Shorter, Steve Prefontaine,

PROFILE--Dennis Marsella--aka The Coatman--has been running for 39 years

(Apr. 2020) Dennis Marsella calls himself "the original stunt runner," and he might be just that. Or the most-enduring. Now 69 and living in Fort Lauderdale, FL, he started as "Coatman" in 1981--no easy feat, wearing a hot winter coat in the Miami Marathon. Through the years, he has evolved to pizza delivery and sometimes champagne server, particularly in the New York City Marathon, which he has completed 33 times. You could never call Marsella boring or colorless--maybe eccentric. But he's covered 130,000 miles by his count, and is planning on a lot more. "I want to run until I'm 100," he says.

Career-profession? I worked 15 years as lifeguard, also a security guard, and yes I have been paid to advertise for companies while I do training runs and races all over Fort Lauderdale.

How did you start running and why? I first ran track in 1967 at Rutherford High School in Fort Lauderdale. We also ran as part of lifeguard training. I was motivated to run my first Miami Orange Bowl Marathon in 1981 as a survival stunt

PROFILE--Stefan Fekner has been running for 40 years

(Apr. 2020) Stefan Fekner has been running in and around Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for 40 years. A city planner who doesn't drive a car, he gets around on foot. (And occasionally on bike). Fekner, now 67, has a marathon PR of 2:28, but for many years specialized in ultra-running, particularly the 100K distance. He often used Thoreau and other similar thinkers to inspire him "to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Career-profession? City Planner 1978-2014, Edmonton, Alberta. Awards: Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) 1995. Eric W. Thrift Award of Planning. Excellence Grand Prize; Alberta Association CIP Award of Merit – 2008 and 2009.

Part time employment/activities: University of Alberta Faculty of Extension online instructor in Applied Land Use Planning; elections (municipal, provincial, federal) as registration officer; volunteer at track and field meets. 

When did you start running and why? In high school, we did not have a track, but I managed to run around Victoria Park and one year, a 3-mile run on the streets. I hated it. In 1980, I saw

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: 

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.

PROFILE--South African Brian Chamberlain hit 5DS3 in 2000, and ran a 3:45 marathon last year at 70

Brian Chamberlain on right. Tim Noakes, left;
Johnny Halberstadt, center.
(Jan. 2020) Brian Chamberlain is a member of the 5DS3 group (5 Decades Sub 3 Marathon), but he got there earlier than most. Chamberlain ran his first sub 3 marathon (just barely) in 1967 when he clocked a 2:59:49 in a Johannesburg marathon. A decade later, he hit his personal best, 2:15:25. And in 2000, Chamberlain achieved his fifth decade with a 2:46:46. Now 70, he ran 3:45 last year to place second in his age-group in the South African marathon championships. These days, the two-time winner of the famous Two Oceans Marathon (32 miles; Chamberlain ran 3:15:22 in his first win, and 3:15:23 in his second the next year; consistent?), mixes canoe and

PROFILE--Paul Fetscher has run 48 consecutive NYC Marathons

(1-2020) Paul Fetscher passed 100,000 running miles so long ago he doesn't remember when it happened. Never an elite runner, Fetscher has nonetheless done about all you can do in running--from the Great Wall of China to the last 48 straight NYC Marathons. Now 75, the New York City running icon is suffering through only the third running injury of his life--the other two weren't even caused by running--and will bounce back soon. Known for his quips, Fetscher sometimes likes to quote himself. "I'm running the same times I always did, I'm just not covering the same distances."

Career/Profession? President of Great American Brokerage, a commercial real estate broker specializing in restaurants and retail.

When and why did you start running? When I entered Carey High School in Franklin Square, NY. I noticed the pretty girls were walking home with the guys with the Varsity Letter jackets. Track was the only individual sport. I started as a long jumper, but my gym teacher said I had to run cross-country if I wanted to do track the next year. Little did I know I would fall in love with distance running. By the end of my first season, I was the #2 runner in my district, and I was hooked.

How much did you run in your peak years, miles/week? In the 1970’s, a 100 mile week was about par. Before the top races, more like 105 – 115 per week. I didn’t count

Profile--Mark Courtney has run 14,609 days in a row.

(Jan. 2019) On December 19, 2019, Mark Courtney completed his daily run for the 14,609th day in a row. That's 40 years with nary a day off. Courtney's impressive in many other ways. He has run 40 straight Boston Marathons, and has a marathon PR of 2:28:48 at Chicago. Now 63 and living in Grove City, PA, he continues to operate a road-race timing company--Runner's High. His running allows him to eat somewhat indiscriminately. "My diet includes beer and ice cream," he says. "Though rarely at the same time."

Career/Profession? I was a Physician Assistant for 34 years (Family Practice) - retired. Owner of Runner’s High, a road-race timing company since 1979,