Slow and steady wins the race for Bob Sielski, (MM14290) who has accomplished the rare ironman-esque feat of finishing marathons in all 50 states — at age 80.
The energetic octogenarian flew to Hawaii in December and completed the Honolulu Marathon, crossing the finish line in 7 hours, 11 minutes and 55 seconds. After adding Alaska last summer, Sielski’s 26.2-mile Hawaii milestone marked the 50th and final state on his list. “More people have climbed Mount Everest than have completed the 50 states,” said Lois Berkowitz, president of the 50 States Marathon Club based in Houston, Texas.
Sielski lives midway between Melbourne Beach and Floridana Beach on Brevard County’s barrier island. He typically traverses 20 to 50 miles per week, and he also swims and bicycles. He calls himself a “30-30” endurance run-walker, meaning that he alternates running for 30 seconds and walking for 30 seconds throughout his races.
“I think a big thing for people that are getting older — and I think it would affect people that were really elite, good runners when they were young — is all of a sudden, you’re not finishing in first. You’re only finishing. And then, you’re finishing 10th,” Sielski said.
“And a lot of the people like that, I think, just give up,” he said.
“In my case, I was never that good. So it never bothered me then. If I come in last, I come in last. The first time it happened, it bothered me a tiny bit — and that’s being in a 5K and being beaten by a 5-year-old. But I’ve gotten used to that,” he said, laughing.
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Article written by Rick Neale, Rick is the South Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY