Manhattan man celebrates 90th birthday by running 90 laps, 40-year tradition

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — A Manhattan man is proving age is just a number, especially when it comes to setting big goals for yourself.

Marvin Hachmeister turned 90 years old on March 9, which is a milestone on its own. But he celebrated in a way most of us would never think to do: running 90 laps around Ahern Fieldhouse at Kansas State University.

Hachmeister is a pretty popular guy around the Little Apple, especially if you’re a runner. In fact, the Marvin Hachmeister 10k Road Race, a part of the St. Patrick’s Day Run, is named after him.

“I suppose it’s because…well… there’s no one else that’s run as many years as I have,” Hachmeister said.

This is a great accomplishment, but he’s done something else to catch the attention of people in Manhattan. On March 9, he ran 90 laps for his 90th birthday.

“I’m just trying to be an ordinary person in life,” he said. “I don’t try to excel in anything. And I don’t. But I enjoy being around people. That’s my main goal, really.”

So how did this annual celebration start? When he turned 50 years old he was put to a challenge.

“Couple of those guys challenged me to run 50 laps,” he said. “So I said I’ll do it. But I had to work day and night to prepare to do that. And so I run the 50 laps, and that was back a few years ago.”

He didn’t stop there. He liked doing it so much he kept going.

“So every year, I would increase my lap by my age,” he said.

Hachmeister set a goal to hit 75. Then 75 came, and he needed a new number. Eventually, he decided to set a goal of 90 years and 90 laps. He made it to both, with a few buddies to celebrate with him.

“The way he has gone about his life, I mean, you can learn a lot from those people,” said Ben Sigle, a friend of Hachmeister and owner of the Manhattan Running Company. “In life, you just want to model yourself after people who have been successful and done well. Obviously, he’s one of those guys.”

“One of his best, I think, quotes is, ‘If you want to beat your competition, you’ve got to outlive all of them,'” said Dale Larson, Hachmeister’s friend who was there when he met his birthday goal. “And obviously, he is doing that by quite a ways!”

Ninety years down with 90 laps completed around the track at Ahern Fieldhouse; a goal he put his mind to. However, for Hachmeister, the best thing to come from running are friends and happiness.

“You know, I wouldn’t be running probably if there was no one else running,” he said. “Because it’s just the comradery and the social that I enjoy.”

Hachmeister said he’s only missed one of the St. Patrick’s Day Races. Fun fact, the first time he ran the race was by “accident.” He was visiting Manhattan for a job interview and happened to be there around the same week as the race. So he joined in his free time and the rest is history.

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