SOUTH HERO, Vt. (WCAX) On a beautiful weekday afternoon, Victor Tirrito took to the streets of South Hero, preparing to continue a truly remarkable streak.
"There's a lot of guys that have run the marathon," Tirrito said. "Maybe not all 29, but close to it."
But even among the regulars, Vic stands out. On Sunday, at age 64, Tirrito will run his 30th consecutive Vermont City Marathon.
"It was pretty tough. There were many years where I was injured, and by then I had already run 10 marathons. So I said, 'Oh no, I have to do this.' So no matter what time I was going to finish in, I finished."
Vic first arrived in Vermont in the fall of 1972, and he met his wife Debbie shortly thereafter. Vic picked up running while in the Green Mountain State for health reasons.
"What kind of triggered me into running was when I stopped smoking, I started eating more, and I decided to take up running."
The couple moved to New York in 1979, and four years later, Vic took his first shot at 26.2 miles, competing in the New York City Marathon.
"I was doing, I thought, very well in New York City," Tirrito said, grinning. "And they talk about the wall...I hit it. I thought for sure I was gonna break three hours and I wound up running a 3:38."
Vic never did break three hours, but he kept running. After about eight years in New York, Vic and Debbie felt the urge to move back to Vermont. Beginning in 1989 and every year since, Vic has been on the starting line for the Vermont City Marathon.
"I actually was an active member of the Green Mountain Athletic Association, made quite a few friends there, they were all into running. The Vermont City Marathon was just one big reunion where we all got together and just kept doing it. And it became very popular to want to do it every year."
Over the years, Vic and Debbie have branched out, trying their legs in all kinds of distance running events.
"We were doing the TransAlpine. It goes through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy through the Alps, the Trans Rockies, that's the sister marathon in Colorado. We just came back from Mount Diablo, which is in Walnut Creek, California. We just came back and did a 50K there."
But there's nowhere Vic would rather be on Memorial Day Weekend.
"It's beautiful running in the Burlington Marathon. You've got the Lake, you've got the Beltline. Going through town gives you that feel like maybe you're in Boston. Like I said, I've met many, many friends that love the Vermont City Marathon, we train together, and it just kept us going, kept us wanting to keep doing it and it's our hometown...you know, can't get any better than that."