• Linda Carrier ran her first marathon in her 30s, and continues to run long distances in her 60s.
  • She shared her tips on how to stay fit throughout life.
  • These include finding an activity you enjoy and making it into a habit.

The second time that Linda Carrier ran a marathon, it was to make sure the first one wasn’t a fluke. 81 marathons and 55 half-marathons later, it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t.

Carrier began running as a child, when her mom would send her out to do laps around the block to tire her out, she told Business Insider. And getting diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14 didn’t slow her down.

But she didn’t start running competitively until she was in her 30s. When she did her first marathon, Carrier thought she would be “one-and-done,” but it was fun and she liked how it made her feel calm and focused, so she started to do one or two a year.

After a while, she started taking on bigger running challenges. She ran a 50-mile ultramarathon on her 50th birthday and completed the World Marathon Challenge — where she ran a marathon on each of the seven continents in seven days — three times, in 2019, 2020, and 2023.


Linda Carrier running a marathon in Antarctica.

Carrier running a marathon in Antarctica for the World Marathon Challenge.

World Marathon Challenge

Now 61, Carrier, who is based in North Carolina, is trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and has only eight left to go.

In a regular week, Carrier runs 40 to 50 miles, rising to 125 miles a week when she’s training for a specific race.

Carrier’s journey with running, where she started to excel in her 30s and has reaped the benefits into her 60s, may be motivating for those inspired by current trends to take up the sport. Some 95% of races put on by New York Road Runners, a nonprofit that organizes the New York Marathon, sold out in 2023, compared with 89% in 2019, according to data provided by NYRR to Hell Gate.

One big motivator is how great running is for our health. One 2019 review of studies found that any amount of running, even less than 50 minutes a week, appeared to reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Carrier shared her tips for people who want to be fit throughout life like her.

Stay active

Carrier said that doing “anything that just keeps you active and out of a rocking chair” is helpful for staying fit into older age — even if that’s just taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

“It’s about mindset. Just because you’re 60 or 70 doesn’t mean you should be in a walker. Just stay active and I think you’ll live a long, healthy life,” she said.

Research supports this idea: a 2022 study found people who did the minimum recommended levels of physical activity — 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity each week — were 31% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Plus, a 2023 study suggested that participants who did about four minutes of vigorous activity in their daily activities reduced their cancer risk by 18%.


Find a sport you love

Over the course of her life, Carrier tried many different sports, from roller skating and bowling to baseball, but she always went back to running.

Finding a type of exercise you enjoy will make it easier to keep it up in the long term, she said.

The National Institute on Aging recommends that people do all four types of exercise for their health — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility — so consider finding one that you enjoy and incorporates these factors.

Make being active a habit

“You have to make a habit of the important things in your life — eating, sleeping, being active,” Carrier said. She recommended doing the physical activity of your choice regularly for three months to make it a habit.


BI previously reported on how to gamify habits to keep them up.

Have a long-term goal

“Figure out where you want to be in the long term, and make plans to go towards that,” Carrier said. “Everyone needs a north star. I hate to think that at 70 you could have the regret of not doing something when you could have done it when you were 30.”

BI previously reported how what are known as extrinsic goals, such as improving health and developing skills, are better motivators long-term than intrinsic factors, such as losing weight.