“If you rest, you rust.”
Those are the words that Marlyn Hahn lives by.
When that is the guiding motto in your life, it can lead to some rather phenomenal accomplishments — such as running in, and completing, the Boston Marathon in less than five hours at the age of 75.
That's right, the Manchester Township man finished one of the world's most famous and grueling marathons in a net time of 4 hours, 53 minutes, 37 seconds, good for 13th in his age division.
That's an average of less than 11 minutes per mile, for a man who was born when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president.
There are plenty of folks less than half his age who can't run one mile in under 11 minutes, much less 26 consecutive miles.
Still, Hahn was not completely satisfied with his performance.
“I was hoping for a 4:40, which would have re-qualified me for next year. It was very warm on race day. I don't do well in the heat, (with) heavy sweating. (I) drank lots of fluids, with many port-a-potty stops. (I had an) upset stomach. My legs were getting stiff the last five miles. I was able to walk after the race with little pain, and after a few hours felt OK.”
Latecomer to running: Hahn is a latecomer when it comes to running. He didn't start running until he was in his 40s, and he only did it then at lunch time to get out of his office. He didn't take up competitive running until he retired as an engineer with Berg Electronics in 2001. Since 2002, he's been a “snowbird,” spending five months each winter with his wife of nearly 50 years, Julia, in Key Largo, Florida.
“I joined the YMCA and started running with a lunch group who did some local races," he said. "Groups bring out the competition in you, and I started running half marathons. Running keeps me healthy, which allows me to do other fun activities.”
Among those “other fun activities” are tennis, pickle ball, biking, aerobic classes, weight training and sailing.
He runs three times a week, but never two days in a row. When he isn't running, he cross trains in other sports. He has no special diet, but tries to eat everything in moderation, with no fried foods and limited sugar.
“I've been fortunate to have been blessed with good physical health,” he said. “I've tried to not be too competitive by limiting my training, not participating in too many races and cross training.”
Boston history: Since retirement, Hahn has run five Boston Marathons and five Boston Marathon qualifiers. His best Boston time is 4:02, although he has run some qualifiers in under four hours.
Not all of Hahn's Boston Marathon experiences, however, have been positive.
“I ran Boston in 2013, heard and felt the bomb go off, (and) was stopped by police one half mile before the finish line. (I) had to walk/detour around (the) finish line. I had a good race going, (with) a projected finish time of 4:16. But I'm grateful I did not get hurt in the bombing.”
Actually, Hahn says he really enjoys half marathons. One of his favorite running partners is his daughter, Tiffany. Recently, in a half marathon in Birmingham, Alabama, Hahn and his daughter crossed the finish line together.
“I've run 28 halves in 28 states,” he said. “Just a fun motivator. I'll assess how I feel when I'm 80, and may try Boston again.”
Staying active: Completing the Boston Marathon at age 80 would be truly staggering, but that's a few years down the road.
In the meantime, he plans to stay active.
“I have a desire to experience as many adventures as I can before my health fails and my life style changes,” he said.
If history is an indicator, Hahn would appear to have many good years left.
One thing is certain — rust certainly has not set in yet.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.