RIP: Long live the spirit of Don McNelly

My friend Don McNelly gave us 96 years of marathons (744), classical music, wine making, volunteering—with the energy of someone half his age. I told Don’s story in the “Heroes” chapter of my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100.

Here is the excerpt from the book:

Don McNelly (85 Years Young in 2006)

  1. 700 + marathons
  2. Weight:210
  3. Height: 6’4”
  4. Started running at age 48
  5. First Marathon 1969 – Boston
  6. Over 400 marathons since turning 70
  7. Completed over 25 marathons each year
  8. Married for over 64 years and counting
  9. “I’ve never been happier in my life”

Those who meet Don find that he does not act his age: “…an enormous amount of energy, clear head, speaks intellectually about all topics and has no signs of hearing, sight or recollection problems”. He started running at 48, and ran his first marathon almost 10 years later in 1969 – the last Boston Marathon that did not require time qualification.

While he runs and walks shorter distances, during marathons (more frequently than every other week) he walks.

He tried to get his father to walk or run, but to no avail. His Dad had to have both hips replaced. Don believes that running too fast, or pushing beyond your limits causes joint problems. “I sure admire strong and determined competitors but I have seen too many have to quit after too few running years,”

He’s run on 5 continents, in 20 countries, all states and Canadian provinces, and is looking forward to moving into the 90+ age group.

Jeff Galloway Resources: Visit the E-Shop where you will find “Running Until You’re 100” and other books for your running library. 

Did you miss the Jeff Galloway Race Weekend in Atlanta? It is not too late to still win the shirt and medal for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 and/or the Barb’s 5K. You can do this by signing up to participate in the Virtual Jeff Galloway 13.1 and Barb’s 5K. You can use a training run or race of the 13.1 or 5K distance to participate:

The 2017 Jeff Galloway Race Weekend events in Atlanta are now open for registration at:

The JG Half is back in December! Join us in Atlanta December 18 & 19 for the Galloway Homecoming.