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Veteran Runner Prepares for his 37th Consecutive NYC Marathon

by Kelsey Schappell
A A

asterix611, flickr

70-year-old David Obelkevich reflects on the changes he's seen since the early 1970's.

In 1973, David Obelkevich jumped in to the middle of the New York City Marathon, ran six miles, and left. 
 
 
Then, in 1976 he ran the marathon from start to finish, and has done so every year since then. The 70-year-old said it has certainly gotten more difficult to run the race since setting his personal record in 1982 (26.2 miles in 2 hours and 41 minutes). But now, it's more about having fun.
 
"People who live in the city, they often don't get to see parts of Brooklyn, or parts of the Bronx, or parts of Staten Island," said Obelkevich. "It's a way to do some sight-seeing for those of us who are not interested in winning the race."
 
David has seen a lot of changes in the marathon since the 70's. For instance, he said it's become much more of a spectator sport. People come to the race to cheer on runners, which he says really helps when they start to get tired.
 
"My wife was walking at the 23-mile mark, going up a hill," he said. "She was walking, and one of the spectators yelled at her and said, 'this is a running race, get going!' And she said, 'okay, I will!'"
 
The oldest runner in this year's marathon is 93. David says he might not be running at that age, but he thinks he has another 10 years in him.
 
The marathon is this Sunday. 

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