HASH(0xb41558)

New York man who completed 744 marathons dies at age 96

New York man who completed 744 marathons dies at age 96

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Don McNelly, known worldwide for powering through marathon runs and running up record totals into his 70s and 80s, has died.

A retired paper company executive from upstate New York, McNelly died Sunday at age 96, according to the Richard H. Keenan Funeral Home in the Rochester suburb of Fairport.

McNelly didn’t start running marathons until he was nearly 50 after a close friend died of a heart attack. He ran his first marathon in Boston in 1969. Forty years later, he had completed 744 of them, running 26.2-mile races in all 50 states, every Canadian province and on every continent, including Antarctica.

McNelly was 86 in 2006 when he completed his 700th marathon, eventually reaching his goal with marathon No. 744, the same number of his Navy destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. His race total included 117 ultra-marathons, races that are longer than the traditional marathon distance.

“I’m 90 and I feel like I’m 50, 60 tops,” he told The Associated Press in November 2010, a week after he had to pull out of a marathon in Pennsylvania after making it about midway through the race. “I’m a lucky, lucky, lucky guy.”

Born on a farm in Brookville, Ohio, the first of seven children, McNelly enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as chief engineering officer aboard the USS Kyne, a destroyer escort officially known as DE-744. In 1954, he and his family moved from Indiana to Rochester.

After taking up marathon running, McNelly befriended Norm Frank, another runner from the Rochester area with a passion for marathons. The two travelled together to races to save on gas and hotel bills. By the time Frank died in 2015 at 83, he had completed 965 marathons.

McNelly set world records in his 70s, when he racked up 295 marathons, and in his 80s, when he accumulated 177 more.

Dan McNelly said his father was addicted to running and proud of it.

“If he couldn’t do marathons he wasn’t going to do anything else,” the younger McNelly told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Survivors include Phyllis, his wife of nearly 75 years, and another son Tom.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Arbitrated settlement for Kelowna jail guards

Details of arbitration settlement in contract dispute not released

New boss at Kelowna’s Flair Airlines

Flair’s founder and president Jim Rogers steps down after selling shares in company

Okanagan nurse assists Rohingya refugees

Crystal Grymaloski volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse disaster response mission in Bangladesh

Accident at busy Kelowna intersection

There are reports of a two vehicle accident on Highway 97 leading through Kelowna

Inquiry underway in Kelowna murder case

A preliminary inquiry is taking place for the man accused in the 2014 death of Christopher Ausman

Kelowna artist creates fundraiser for a friend

Artist Laurie Koss was inspired by her friend’s cancer battle to help her keep fighting

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Waters: For Trump words speak louder than actions

U.S. president’s first year in office marked more by what he said than what he did

Letter: Many share Hodge’s thoughts on Trump

Kelowna letter-writer says Charlie Hodge was on the mark in his take on Donald Trump

Column: RRSP a good choice for first time buyers

Kelowna mortgage brokers examine the rules around using your RRSP as down payment

Community lends a hand after fire

Fundraiser to aid fire victim’s wife

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read