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NKY man still working, writing and running marathons at 84

Sanders ran his first marathon in 1991 when he was 54 years old. He’s still going strong three decades later.
Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Northern Kentucky man is proof that age is just a number. He’s training for his next marathon at the age of 84 and says helping people realize their dreams is his calling in life.

“I want to set an example that we just keep living and do what we can do,” Admiral Dewey Sanders said. “I’m not setting records when I run but I’m out there.”

Sanders is a marathon runner, practicing psychologist, author, husband, father and grandfather. He’s also a minister although he only pastors informally right now.

“Helping other people, being there for other people in my life. Just caring about people,” explained Sanders. “The patients I work with, I can’t just work with them as a number. I have to care about them. I have to love them.”

He’s traveled to all 50 states with his wife, Dotty. They still travel frequently.

They live at Story Point in Union, KY. It’s a senior living community where Sanders knows just about everyone.

“It’s a blessing that people still want to talk to some old man,” jokes Sanders, “And I’m lucky because I have people that are 15 and I have people that are 70.”

Sanders says he hasn’t always been a healthy man or in very good shape. But he’s always been a hard worker. His father worked on the railroad and was uneducated. Sanders has four degrees and even spent time as the president of a university.

“I quit smoking in my 30s and then I started trying to eat a better diet,” Sanders continues, “I love donuts. And try to calm things down, and at 47 or 48 I ran a couple of shorter races, 5ks or 10ks, and over six or seven years I kept hearing people talk about marathons.”

Sanders ran his first marathon in 1991 when he was 54 years old. It was The New York City Marathon. He has now completed 85 marathons and countless half marathons.

He says his favorites are the Flying Pig Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

He’s not only an accomplished runner though. Sanders walked from Virginia Beach to San Francisco in 2004 raising money for a children’s charity.

In his books, Sanders talks about living longer through good health and being happy. But he also says no matter your age, you can still make your dreams come true.

“A lot of people my age don’t have dreams. They think it’s all behind them,” explains Sanders, “I think what [Robert] Browning said... ‘Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.’ I think it’s all ahead.”

Sanders says he is planning to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon in October. He plans to finish 100 marathons before he turns 100-years-old in 2037.

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