HomeAging AwesomeMeet Bob Hayes, the 89-Year-Old Ultra Marathoner

Meet Bob Hayes, the 89-Year-Old Ultra Marathoner

“I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it, but I just keep going because if I stop, that’ll be the end and they’ll haul me off through the pearly gates.”

Bob Hayes, 89, of Evaro, Montana, didn’t start running until he was 60. His three children all ran, but it took serious convincing to get him to do it.

“Oh no, I get plenty of exercise working,” Hayes would tell his children, referring to his active work as a timber cruiser for lumber companies.

Finally, his children talked him into one race, in 1986. “I did that one race and of course I got hooked.”

Pushing 90, Hayes estimates he’s run 30 races in an average year, adding up to 100-125 marathons or ultra-marathons, and 600 races in all.

All of this is available in the film “The Hard Way, An Ultra Runner Pushes 90,” directed by filmmakers Erik Petersen and Jeremy Lurgio.

Petersen originally met Hayes when he lived on his 180-acre property for a time. Every morning, Petersen watched Hayes get up for a run, cut his own wood by hand, and end the day by going dancing.

“This guy is incredible,” says Petersen. “He’s definitely not one to seek out the spotlight.”

Hayes, meanwhile, says he has no plans to stop running any time soon.

“I’m just going to keep running as long as I can,” Hayes says. “I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it, but I just keep going because if I stop, that’ll be the end and they’ll haul me off through the pearly gates.”