Age is just a number.
Just ask Doris Langel, of East Toledo.
The 77-year-old was recently honored by the Toledo Roadrunners Club as the “Coming Back Runner of the Year” for 2008.
Doris started running at the tender age of 52. “When I started running, I ran 5k, 10k and half marathons,” she said. “Then I started training for marathons by running 15 to 20 miles a week.”
Her training routine included getting up at 5 a.m. to run from her home to Pearson Park or Maumee Bay State Park. Her husband Mike, joined by the family dog, would follow along in the car.
“Sometimes, the police would stop him and ask what he was doing,” she said.
Over the years, Doris has run numerous road races, often placing first in her age group. She has five major marathons under her belt, including the Glass City Marathon in Toledo as well as races in Detroit, Chicago, Columbus and New York City.
“My daughter and her husband ran four of the marathons with me,” she said.
About four years ago, Doris stopped running so she could spend more time with Mike, who was experiencing failing health. After he passed away in August 2007, she decided to go back to the Toledo Roadrunners and start running again, she said.
“Now that I’m back into running, I really miss when I get to the finish line, my husband waiting there with his camera and yelling, ‘Come on Doris, you’re almost there,’” she said.
“Then he would say, `Congratulations.’
“I know he is there in spirit at every race I run,” she said.
As she approaches her 78th birthday in April, Doris plans to keep on running. When the weather is bad, she hits the treadmill to keep in shape, but when possible, she runs at her favorite place, Pearson Metropark.
“I hope to do more running and possibly train for the Cleveland Marathon,” she said. “But we will see what happens.”
After taking a short break from running to care for her ailing husband, Doris Langel is running again. The 77-year-old, who will be 78 in April, was named the “Coming Back Runner of the Year” by the Toledo Roadrunners Club.