The Inquirer is presenting one profile a day of participants in the May 6 Blue Cross Broad Street Run. See full coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun.
By Michael Vitez
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When does the oldest man in the Broad Street Run give it up?
Dick Hoban won his age group last year at 80.
And don't laugh; he beat somebody.
Dick, a retired engineer, has already moved into a retirement community called Normandy Farms Estates, where he's a relative youngster. Some there rely on scooters, walkers and canes, but he's still out running five miles many mornings — and preparing to run 10 miles down Broad Street.
He has made other concessions to age, even with running. His longtime running buddies have stopped running, for the most part. Age has done them in, or at least done in their knees and hips and ankles and feet, so they walk Saturday mornings now beside the Wissahickon Creek and solve world problems.
And because friendship and world peace are more important than running, at least on Saturdays, Dick walks with his pals on those days rather than run.
Dick loves running, and how it makes him feel, and it keeps him fit, although he says he's getting a little pot belly now at 81, "like carrying around a 10-pound pot roast strapped to you."
He believes that he's as healthy as he is because he runs. And when he has had medical procedures, he has bounced back fast. He's sure the fitness from running has helped.
He started running late in life, at 50, to lose weight. He had been a smoker, and quit, and piled on pounds. He started out by running 25 steps, and walking 25 steps, and built himself up enough to run nine marathons.
"It's an addiction now after 30 years," he says. "It's like eating lunch. I have to eat lunch."
Dick has run Broad Street 27 times. His best time, in his early days, was 1:05.
Last year, 1:55.34.
It is not pain or age that will force Dick Hoban to stop running Broad Street, but humility. If he cannot break two hours this year, he will stop.
"Two hours, it's embarrassing to me," he said. "It's just too long. You're getting down now to the last people."
Last year he beat 3,8431 finishers and ran behind 21,410.
His goal this year is a time of 1:59:59 or better.
If he can do it, that will give him another year, another chance to compete for his age group championship. Note. The oldest runner will be Lorraine Cephus, 82, of Cherry Hill, who has run all 33 previous Broad Street Runs. It took her 3:12:27 last year.
"There are always some people behind me," she said.
Four, officially, last year.
"I think God gave me the strength to run," she added. "It settles my mind. I try not to let things worry me even though we live in a world of worries. I go out and run and feel better when I come back."