Age just a number for area marathoner



A joyous Mary Ellen Martel acknowledges the applause as she crosses the finish line Sunday after completing the MDI Marathon. PHOTO BY JACK MARTEL

A joyous Mary Ellen Martel acknowledges the applause as she crosses the finish line Sunday after completing the MDI Marathon. PHOTO BY JACK MARTEL

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Mary Ellen Martel said the walking started out as testament to the fact that 60 does not mean life is over, that 60 is not old.

She more than proved that by completing the MDI Marathon — with the final leg ending just minutes from her door in Southwest Harbor.

“I walked the MDI Marathon in seven hours, 22 minutes and 17 seconds, which is not too bad,” said Martel. “I’ve never done anything like it before.”

Director of the Harbor House Children’s Center in Southwest Harbor, Martel began training for the marathon on March 30.

“I turned 60 in January and had been trying to think of something to prove I wasn’t old,” she said. “I don’t feel old and I don’t intent to ever feel old.”

Her extracurricular activities up until that time included serving as photographer for the Southwest Harbor Volunteer Fire Department. The fact that her bib number in the marathon was “911” was just an accident.

“I’ve never considered myself to be an athlete at all,” Martel said. “I was never someone to run or jog or do long-distance biking.”

She consulted with two friends who are personal trainers, looked online for a training program and slowly started building up her endurance.

The plan called for three consecutive days of walking followed by other activities.

Her longest workout day was Sunday. Little by little, her mileage increased.

The longest walk she completed prior to the marathon was 20 miles in September.

Martel said she doesn’t see another marathon in her future—the training just takes too much time—but she would consider a half marathon.

“It definitely was worth it,” she said. “It was a real feeling of accomplishment to say I did it.”

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]

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