Best Incentive to Keep Running (2008)

ALBERTO ARROYO

"My boss told me I was an embarrassment," confesses ALBERTO ARROYO, a youthful 87-year-old with a broad white moustache and Saucony sneakers. "I used to work at Bethlehem Steel, near Battery Park, and I'd run through the crowds up to 34th Street and back on my lunch break. Everyone else drank coffee, smoked, and played cards." With a smile, he adds: "I'm the only one still alive." Arroyo arrived in New York from Puerto Rico in 1935 and, while training as a boxer, basically fathered modern running as a fitness movement. His favorite haunt is still the track around the Central Park Reservoir, where he has spent the better part of the last 67 years. In former days, he'd do laps there with Jackie O. and Anthony Quinn, earning himself the title "Mayor of Central Park." Nowadays, he mostly cheers on those both fleet and flat of foot.

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