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Hyewon Grigoni November 18, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 7

Staying Power

How 77-year-old ultrarunner Barbara Macklow endures

Although Barbara Macklow calls herself "an average runner," there's nothing average about seeing the 96-pound ...

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

Although Barbara Macklow calls herself "an average runner," there's nothing average about seeing the 96-pound great grandmother at the starting line of an ultramarathon. At 77 years old, Macklow, of Bellingham, Washington, is one of only two women in United States history to have finished a trail 100-miler in her 70s. She is the oldest woman to run both the JFK 50-Mile Run in Washington County, Maryland, and the Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Run in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"Running is a part of my life," says Macklow. "You know, you get up, you brush your teeth, you do what you do. Well, I get up and I go for a run." But just as inspiring as her level of fitness at 77 is the fact that she didn't discover running until she was 51 years old.

Standing five feet tall, Macklow has never been one to shrink from a challenge. She wanted a big family and had five children. For a couple years in the 1970s, her family lived aboard a 40-foot boat, while they sailed from their home in Connecticut to the Bahamas. Though two of her children were born with a debilitating muscular disease, Macklow insisted on teaching them to be independent and undeterred by circumstance. "She showed us how to be strong," says her daughter, Karen, of their upbringing.



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