Larry Macon is living proof that it’s never too late to pick up good habits—even if those habits start off as a lie. You see, Macon, who is now a spry 72 years old, just completed his 2,000th marathon in December—a feat that no American runner has ever accomplished before, at least officially. Really, it was more like his 2010th, because according to Macon, he wanted to pad his numbers just to be sure. He completed this incredible feat at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, with a time of 7:16:31.
He doesn’t run to beat a personal record, or even to beat a world record (though he’s done that more than once). Macon simply runs because he loves it. But it wasn’t always that way.
Macon was once was a 50-something lawyer living in Texas who spent more time working indoors than he ever did working out. When asked by his fellow lawyers how he spent his weekend, he decided to lie.
“Lawyers lie a lot,” Macon told Men’s Health with a laugh. He explained that after court sessions, he and his coworkers will often sit around and discuss the “great athletic events” they partook in over the weekend. One week, Macon said, everyone else had done something spectacular like biked 100 miles or swam for two miles, or even played 36 holes of golf. Somebody then asked, Hey Larry, what you did this weekend?
“I wasn’t going to admit I worked. That’s really not a manly thing to do,” Macon said. He glanced down at the newspaper, saw a story about an upcoming race, and replied, “I’m training for the marathon.”
Immediately after he said it, he regretted it. The marathon was just three weeks away, and he’d never run more than 10 miles in his entire life. Against the odds, the 52-year-old completed the marathon in just over 5 hours. After that, he was done with running forever—or so he thought. Because like most runners can tell you, once you catch that runner’s high, it’s hard to look back.
So Macon kept running, running, and running some more. He’s run through the four corners of the United States in 9-degree weather. (Here’s all the gear you need for cold-weather running.) He’s completed a marathon in Las Vegas in sweltering 110-degree heat. He’s even run a race in North Dakota during a white out snow storm. Macon kept going through it all until one day, he beat his first world record completely by accident.