New York man who completed 744 marathons dies at age 96

Posted at 10:12 AM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 10:15:56-05

ROCHESTER, N.Y.  — An internationally known runner who completed 744 marathons has died. Don McNelly was 96.

The Richard H. Keenan Funeral Home in Fairport, New York, says he died Sunday.

The native of Brookville, Ohio, began running in the late 1960s after a close friend died of a heart attack.

McNelly ran his first marathon in Boston in 1969. He was 86 in 2006 when he reached his goal with marathon No. 744, the same number of his Navy destroyer in the Pacific during World War II.

He attempted to complete his 745th marathon at a race in Pennsylvania in November 2010 — at age 90 — but had to pull out midway through.

McNelly ran marathons in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces and in 5 continents, including Antartica.

Survivors include Phyllis, his wife of nearly 75 years, and their two sons. McNelly was the oldest of seven children and grew up in southern Ohio.

PIX11’s Aliza Chasan contributed to this report.