Age no barrier for 80-year-old runner

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Having an 80-year-old body hasn’t slowed Hillsboro’s Marie Wiens much.

In fact, Wiens has been running and walking her way out of the stereotypical senior-citizen mold by shattering several Kansas running records.

During the Hillsboro Family Festival 2-mile run May 25, Wiens broke the 80-plus state age-group record in a time of 25:02. The previous time has stood since 1997, when Vivian Weninger-Behymer ran the distance in 29:27.

Wiens shaved more than four minutes off the old mark, a feat that she modestly said was no big deal, but she admitted she’s probably a rare breed.

“There aren’t too many 80-year-olds who run like I do,” Wiens said. “I walk fast and sprint in between. I can’t just run the whole thing. “

According to Wiens, she started running when her daughters were in high school.

The Hillsboro native continues to run with one of her daughters about every year, competing in the Boulder-Boulder 10-Kilometer run in Boulder, Colo.

The longtime Hillsboro residentsaid she runs and walks to stay healthy as she ages.

“I discovered I had osteoporosis and high blood pressure,” Wiens said. “At 80 you have do a few things to stay healthy. I avoid fat and high-calorie stuff, and I run and walk.”

Wiens’ physicians are pleased with the way she takes care of herself .

“They say (running is) a good thing,” Wiens said. “I figure it’s cheaper than medicine.”

Kansas state record keeper Jack Crook said Wiens set a new 80-plus women’s age group record earlier this year in the 5-kilometer event at the Emma Creek event in Hesston.

She also is the owner of the state resident record in the 75-79 age group and five honor-roll clocked times, all run at Emma Creek.

Crook said if Wiens entered more races, she’d most likely set records in several more distances.

Despite her recent success, Wiens doesn’t plan to enter any other races to set state records, but said she hopes she can serve as an inspiration to others.

“You need to make good habits,” Wiens said. “If people would realize that if they just get out and walk it would really benefit them. They don’t have to run, just walk.”

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