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Fitness Achievements Meet this 71 year old runner who has completed 81 marathons

Barbara Brady ran the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015 at 71 years old and it was her third Boston finish and 81st marathon finish.

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Barbara Brady ran the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015 at 71 years old and it was her third Boston finish and 81st marathon finish.

That’s basically 10 more marathons than years she’s been alive.

“I feel like running is the fountain of youth,” says Brady.

Brady started running when she was 28 years old and got hooked.

“I love being outdoors so it certainly allows that; I love the energy and endurance it gives me,” says Brady, “I don't always enjoy the run, but then there are those magic days when I feel very free when I run, I feel like I could go forever.”

Back in 1972, 28-year-old Brady was living with her husband, Phil, and three daughters outside of Knoxville, TN.

To combat fatigue brought on by raising a one-and-a-half year-old while working part time, she and Phil joined an exercise class that incorporated short runs, at a local gym.

Not only did she feel more energized in her day-to-day routine, she noticed a significant, “amazing” difference in her stamina on a ski trip out west.

“We weren’t tired at the end of the day,” she recalls.

After that, Brady’s running routine picked up pretty rapidly. She ran her first 10K in Knoxville in 1978 and then moved on to the major leagues, running her first marathon, the L.A. marathon, in March 1990 at 45 years old.

By the time Brady retired in 2006, she had run 25 marathons in California, as well as a few in other states.

Then, her husband showed her an article about the “50 States Marathon Club.

” To join, you have to have run a marathon in 10 states. “I became genuinely interested in trying to run the states, so I began trying to link running a marathon with a planned trip. For example, we did a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon Hike; then I ran a marathon in nearby Utah.”

In 2007, she officially made the club after running the New York City marathon.

“We travel a lot in our camper van, so we began planning driving trips that would include marathons,” says Brady.

“Eventually, I would run a marathon a week for as many as three weeks—I even ran one ‘double’—a marathon on Saturday followed by one on Sunday,” says Brady, who ultimately ran 40 states between the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2012.

That’s amounts to eight marathons a year!

“After I finished the 50 states, I was injured from running so many marathons in a short period of time,” says Brady, who, over the years, has suffered from a number of severe ankle sprains and torn ligaments, and been in a cast or boot four times.

It took her almost nine months to fully recover from that feat. “As you get older, you have to be careful about overuse and injuries because you don't recover or heal as fast as when you were young,” says Brady, who now runs two days on, one day off, to stay injury-free so she can accomplish her next fitness goal: to be able to return to Boston in four years at age 75.

“I thought maybe Boston would be my last marathon but I pretty much sailed though it, no blisters, no soreness, no lasting fatigue,” says Brady.

Her other goal: to inspire other women. “I don't like the fact that the number of older women running is very small, especially compared to men of the same age, so I want to buck that trend!”

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