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Legacy runner, 86, to take part in Cleveland Marathon for 46th time

Jim Mackert has participated in every single marathon or half marathon in Cleveland since 1978.

CLEVELAND — Is he the energizer bunny? Because, 86-year-old Jim Mackert keeps going and going and going.

Since the Cleveland Marathon began in 1978, he's participated in all 46 events. He's only run the half-marathon once, last year. And, he's doing it again this year. Though, it had to take some convincing.

"(Until) last week, I was still planning on trying to do the marathon. But the family has been telling me that I should go to the half-marathon," Jim said.

You see, it's not easy for someone like Jim, a three-time Boston Marathon veteran, to start slowing down.

"I somehow, I'm gonna get through it now. It may take longer, you know, but time doesn't matter anymore," Jim said. "You know, they time me with a calendar now."

This father of six and loving grandpa has always been a jokester. That humor has kept us laughing for years, and why so many feel inspired by him.

Jim was recently honored by the Lorain County Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame. That's nothing new, as he's regularly honored for his running.

But if you've ever participated in the Cleveland Marathon events, you've probably seen him around. That's because he's been volunteering for more than three decades.

He inspires everyone he meets and especially young runners. For those thinking of breaking into the marathon world, Jim has a message for you:

"Don't let people tell you you can't reach a realistic goal. If you had heard how many people told me that I couldn't do what I'm doing ... I still feel like I wanna run another 70 years."

We asked if he'd ever stop running.

"I prefer not to. I prefer to stop until I drop over," Jim said.

Something tells us, he means it.

If you watch the marathon this Sunday, look for Jim. This legacy runner is leaving inspiration on the course.

Editor's Note: The following video is from a previous story about Jim Mackert.


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