CITY ISLAND, The Bronx (PIX11) – As Michael Rauh’s age increases, so does his streak for the New York City Marathon. The 75-year-old Bronx man is on track to run his 43rd consecutive race next month.
“After the first year of New York City, I said, ‘That’s it,’” Rauh recalled. “’I’m not going to do that again.’”
But he did it again, and after the second marathon, his finish time slightly improved.
“When the third year came along, I thought, Maybe, maybe I could do even better,’” Rauh said.
He put his mind to running 26.2 miles in less than three hours.
“My favorite year – 1982,” he said. “The year I set a goal, and I achieved it.”
He crossed that finish line in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 22 seconds.
“You see both feet off the ground,” he said, pointing to a picture of himself near the finish line. “I am running to make that time.”
These days it’s no longer about finishing at the perfect pace but instead about keeping the streak going.
The City Island resident is tied for the third all-time longest consecutive streak and has run in every New York City Marathon since 1978 besides 2020, which was virtual, but he participated anyway. The race was also canceled in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy.
His collection of finisher medals and certificates shows much the race has changed. For example, the New York Road Runners used to distribute handwritten certificates.
The Queens-born runner started this journey at 31 years old and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“There’s no finish line,” Rauh said. “There’s still fun to be had in life. If you can, possibly stay out of the rocking chair and get out to do something.”
Rauh stopped training five to six days a week for the past few years. Now, he runs every other day and will cross-train, such as cycling, to give his knees a rest.
“The sense of achievement, it’s not less because I’m not as fast as I used to be,” Rauh added. “Perhaps it’s even more because I have overcome some age challenges and got out there and just kept on going.”
The Vietnam veteran is surrounded by encouragement from his wife, family, and friends. His support will be there on the first Sunday of November for his 43rd consecutive New York City Marathon.