The last finisher of the New York City Marathon was a runner named Jonathan Mendes who needed 11 hours and 23 minutes to complete the 26.2-mile course through the city. He’s 96 years old and a World War II veteran.
Mendes is believed to be the oldest unofficial finisher in the history of the New York City Marathon. “Unofficial” because the official time clock stopped tracking runners 45 minutes earlier.
Mendes was a bomber in the Marines and flew more than 100 missions in World War II and more than 70 in the Korean War. While in the service he trained John Glenn who later became an astronaut and the first American to orbit the Earth.
Last Sunday’s marathon was the 16th he’s completed and it might not be his last. He says, “You have to have goals in life. They don’t have to be important. But at this stage I’ve done it all. I’ve skied all over the world. I’ve canoed the great rivers of the world. I flew dive-bombers for the Marine Corps in World War II, and jet fighter attack planes in Korea. And I never got hurt, so I don’t have any bad memories.”
After crossing the finish line, Mendes had a drink of scotch, something he does every afternoon at 4 p.m.. He says, “The key to living this long is a shot of whisky a day and a good woman, in that order.”