HomeAging AwesomeMeet Jim Mackert, an 82-year-old Marathoner

Meet Jim Mackert, an 82-year-old Marathoner

Here are some words you don’t expect to hear from a marathoner: “I’ve had two strokes and a stent put in. I don’t feel old; I feel good. I’m thankful to be able to go out and still run.”

This statement is from Jim Mackert, an Ohio native who is 82 years old and has run the Cleveland Marathon 42 times. If you add in the other marathons Mackert has run, his total comes to 65. That total even includes a few Boston Marathons.

When he was 37, Mackert says he started gaining weight and not feeling good. So, he decided to start running, and when he heard about the Cleveland Marathon, he signed up. He ran that first marathon non-stop, wearing a turtleneck shirt, and not drinking any water! He quickly learned what a mistake that was. But he has since learned many lessons about running and now says he wakes up every morning ready to hit the pavement to train.

Mackert has a plethora of medals from his races, and he gives most of them to his grandkids to take to school for show-and-tell. But the picture he says he is most proud of is that of him and his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary. In an interview five years ago, Mackert said that his wife, Lois, does not run, but as long as he goes to a race in a town with a good restaurant in it, she will go with him.

Mackert runs in all types of weather. He’s had frostbite and had his hat stick to his head like a helmet because of ice. But nothing keeps him from getting out and running.

Mackert runs in all types of weather. He’s had frostbite and had his hat stick to his head like a helmet because of ice. But nothing keeps him from getting out and running.

Even injury.

When he was 56, Mackert was in a construction accident and fell in a hole. He sustained a stress fracture, but he wanted to participate in the Cleveland Marathon anyway. He walked the entire race. Officials told him as long as he completed it, he would get credit. It took him over seven hours, but he’s on the books for that year.

Mackert says, “I try to set an example that you don’t have to quit at 60 or you don’t have to quit at 65 or 70 or whatever. I’m very hopeful that I’ll inspire one person to do better in life. That will make me happy.”

Now at 82, Mackert has no plans to stop running. His family inspires him and he wants to continue to inspire others. His grandkids, even ones as young as three, have run alongside him, learning from Grandpa to keep running.