80-Year-Old Runs Virtual Boston Marathon

Civil rights movement figure and activist James Meredith, 85, has the option of watching sports or news programs on the wall monitors while he walks on a treadmill at least 30 minutes as part of his morning workout at a fitness center in Flowood, Miss., Thursday, July 19, 2018. Meredith …
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Thousands of runners who would have completed the Boston Marathon, which was canceled because of the coronavirus, ran the 26.2-mile race virtually this week.

Bill Shawbell, 80, was one of those participants. He decided not to run the race as he did in the past, but he trained for and ran the race on his treadmill — all in seven hours, WCVB reported.

He used the opportunity to raise money for his favorite charity, Junior Achievement, a worldwide organization that supports young entrepreneurs, just like Shawbell did when he was growing up at Boston Latin School.

“You build confidence,” Shawbell said. “You learn teamwork, you learn innovation, but you understand that there’s a reason to make a living.”

He said Junior Achievement changed his life. He eventually founded and sold his own companies and raised thousands of dollars for organizations while training on the course.

Shawbell says he is not hanging up his hat yet after this race. In another five years when he turns 85, he plans to run on the traditional course.

Other runners tried to make their virtual Boston Marathon experiences worth it as well. John Beiers, 60, of San Carlos, California, ran a virtual race in 90-degree heat with his family by his side. His finishing time was 4 hours, 27 minutes, and 40 seconds, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

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