Tower Federal Credit Union’s Vice President/Director of Internal Audit John Mohler, 68, started running marathons at age 60 and has completed races in all 50 U.S. States plus the District of Columbia in just eight years. Mohler ran as part of the Autism Speaks team in October in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in honor of his four-year-old grandson who is autistic. His grandson (pictured above) crossed the finish line with him, as U.S. Marines and family and friends cheered them on.
[ Laurel, Md.] Sometimes we save the best ‘til last. John Mohler, 68, who started running marathons at age 60 and has now completed races in all 50 U.S. States plus the District of Columbia, says nothing compares to the memory of his final race.
Mohler ran as part of the Autism Speaks team this October in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in honor of his four-year-old grandson who is autistic. “My family was waiting at the finish line and handed my grandson to me so he could cross the finish line with me. The Marines were lined up cheering us on and giving us both high fives. It was a great moment that I’ll never forget.”
Mohler, who works for Tower Federal Credit Union as Vice President/Director of Internal Audit, says he ran cross country in college but didn’t begin running marathons until shortly after joining Tower 12 years ago.
“One of my co-workers was recruiting runners to participate in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C., and Tower was one of the event sponsors,” he recalls. “She asked me to join Tower’s team, saying she drove the van to pick up runners who couldn’t keep pace. I joked that she wouldn’t be picking me up—and she didn’t!” Mohler says he started running half marathons then full marathons after that.
While Mohler enjoys running, he admits he also does it for health reasons. “There’s a history of diabetes on both sides of my family, which forces me to be mindful of my A1C (blood sugar). Running has helped me keep things in check without medication or insulin.”
Other memorable races that have stood out over the years, Mohler says, include the Garmin Oz Marathon in Kansas and the Bataan Memorial Death March in Las Cruces, Mexico.
“In the Garmin Oz race, I ran alongside six runners covered in a dragon costume,” he says. “They were trying to make it in to the Guinness Book of World Records. To see runners in a dragon costume finish a marathon in under four hours was actually pretty amazing!”
Mohler says the Bataan Memorial marathon was especially compelling. The annual “march” takes place in the desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range, where the atomic bomb was tested. The event is conducted in honor of the military service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II.
“Survivors, now in their nineties, told stories of their survival and what they experienced in small breakout sessions and shook your hands at the start and finish,” Mohler recalls. “You knew you were in the presence of real heroes.”