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Published June 11. 2014 05:00PM

Staying active and exercising regularly are keys to remaining healthy and vibrant in our golden years.

Last month, about 200 of our area seniors registered to participate in the Carbon County Senior Games, which were first introduced 26 years ago by Victor Pituch as a celebration to health and vitality and a way to honor older adults.

On the national and international level, we've always been inspired by those distance runners. The marathon is a grueling 26-mile race named for a legendary Greek messenger sent out to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

In our day, there have been some remarkable marathoners whose accomplishments have become legendary. Larry Macon ran 549 marathons over a four-year-period while in his mid-60s. According to Runner's World, he ran his first 93 marathons in 2007 and followed that up with 105 the following year.

That computes to 5,187.6 miles, or approximately 7.1 miles per day for two straight years without taking a single day off the entire time. Macon ran another 113 marathons in 2011 and 153 in 2012, his personal best.

There's also the remarkable Harriette Thompson, a North Carolina resident and a cancer survivor who at the age of 91, recently broke the U.S. record for the fastest marathon run in the 90-94 age group at the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon. She finished the race in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

What makes this story more remarkable is that she has been battling skin cancer and had undergone nine radiation treatments in 11 days, the last one coming just a month before the race. She wore bandages and tights to cover wounds left by the treatment.

Her marathon runs have also raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. Thompson told a reporter that everybody in her family has died of cancer and that "it's sort of in our genes." Her brother died from lymphoma in February.

Thompson, who runs, takes yoga and stretching classes and exercises on an elliptical machine, is known at her retirement community as being "one of very few residents who move "at faster than a strolling pace."

If she's alive and able to compete, Thompson plans to run the San Diego marathon again next year at age 92. That kind of optimism should inspire every American who has a desire to remain active and enhance their quality of life.

By Jim Zbick

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