Two main factors continue to push 77-year-old Toledoan Ann Fleck, who will participate in her 75th marathon on Sunday.
Fleck will run for the 32nd time in the Columbus Marathon.
“Determination and fitness,” Fleck said of her motivation to keep running the 26.2 mile races.
A former teacher in the Ottawa Hills school district, Fleck said she has gone on runs of 20, 21, and 23 miles a week apart over the last month in preparation.
“At my age I don't know if I can finish it but it would not be for a lack of training or trying,” she said.
Fleck said her last marathon also was in Columbus in 2012. She said it took her around six hours to complete the course.
“Normally I am the oldest person there — even in the half marathon,” Fleck said.
Fleck said she only missed the first two Columbus Marathons. Organizers expect a sold-out field of 7,000 marathoners and 11,000 half-marathoners to participate in the 34th annual event.
Fleck said she did not start running marathons until the age of 46.
“It was a family thing,” she said. “I wanted to run with my son-in-law.”
Fleck said she took a class with local distance running legend Sy Mah and was hooked.
She runs annually in the Glass City Marathon. Recently she has run in the half marathon, but she has participated in the local full marathon about 15 times.
Fleck she said she is part of a veterans group that runs every year in Columbus.
“They give us special recognition,” Fleck said.
Fleck said some question why she continues to run marathons.
“Some people say it's not healthy to go that far, but it's okay if you go slow,” she said.
Fleck said she realizes that there will be a time where she won't be able to run in marathons.
“I just want to prove I can do it,” Fleck said.