At 78, Harvey Nelsen is slowing his pace.
Even so, it's been quite a run for the endurance running aficionado.
The longtime Langley resident started his passion for fitness on Oct. 9, 1991, when he completed the Victoria marathon in four hours, 36 minutes.
Since then, he's taken part in about 500 endurance competitions and 52 marathons, including 13 successful showings at the Vancouver Marathon.
He's tested his will, and running skills, across the world - Canada, the U.S., Berlin, Germany, and Beijing, China.
And while he took part in the famed Boston Marathon twice, in 2004 and 2005, Nelsen might be best known for his proclivity for the Grouse Grind.
He trekked the "Grind" 54 times in one week (his best time was 37 minutes, accomplished when he was 66 years old) and nine times in one day.
Nelsen also finished the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run five times, among other races.
But it's been a rough road in recent years.
Last summer, Nelsen suffered a potentially fatal medical scare. He was two kilometres short of completing the 5 Peaks Trail Run at the Seymour Mountain Downhill Ski Area when he was overcome by exhaustion.
"I had no energy. I thought I was just out of shape, but I said I wanted to finish the last two kilometres," the retired schoolteacher recalled.
Nelsen went to Langley Memorial Hospital, where he spent 15 hours in the emergency ward. Doctors discovered blood clots in his lungs. "The doctor told me if I would have gone any further, I would have died. The blood clot would have reached my heart," Nelson said.
Put on blood thinning pills, Nelsen was told that if he must run in the foreseeable future, he should do so on flat surfaces.
His health challenges didn't end there. Nelsen later broke his leg - not running, but simply taking a mis-step on a sidewalk.
"I started talking to someone and I tripped," he said.
"Just an accident."
Nelsen recently returned to the trail run series, and successfully completed an event at Buntzen Lake in Port Moody on Sept. 24. He was the only competitor in the male 70-plus age group and completed the run in one hour, 55 minutes, nine seconds.
"I'm feeling 100 per cent," Nelsen said, "but I'm not doing any more marathons. I'm slowing down."
Nelsen said he's been in shape all of his life, teaching high school students the sports of bodybuilding and skiing.
. More online at www.langleyadvance.com, click on "News"