Marathon Man Runs From Flabby to Fit

Tim Ashley was late to the marathon starting line, running his first one at age 40. But he has barely stopped since, running 25 marathons since then, including his 12th Boston Marathon this year.

DETROIT -- Timothy Ashley ran his first marathon the year he turned 40.  “I started running because I was gaining weight and knew I had to do something about it,” he said.  And do something he did.

Now 58 years old, Tim has completed 25 marathons over the past 18 years, including 12 Boston Marathons after the April 20 race.  He typically runs between 1,000 and 2,000 training miles per year, and says he uses the time to exercise both his brain and body. 

Unlike many runners, Tim doesn’t carry a phone or iPod when he trains.  “I enjoy having a few hours five or six days a week to focus my thoughts without interruption,” he said.

A married father of two girls, aged 18 and 21, Tim is senior vice president of middle market lending for PNC Bank in Detroit.  An admitted endorphin addict, he has tried sky diving, zip lining, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, air combat dogfighting school, and plans to attend helicopter pilot training this summer.

His favorite exercise, however, is clearly running - especially the Boston Marathon.  He crossed the finish line in the 2013 marathon approximately 10 minutes before the horrific explosions that rocked the event.

His first thought: “I don’t remember them shooting off cannons at the end of the marathon.” He assumed a transformer might have blown … until he heard the second explosion and within minutes saw police — who were “deadly serious” — taking control of the streets and traffic.

Tim says the crowd is what makes the Boston Marathon so special. Over the years, he has seen all types of people competing in races, including barefoot runners, jugglers, people running in costumes (such as Big Bird), and participants in full military garb.

“Running can be very humbling,” he said.  “I’m a decent runner, but in every marathon in which I’ve participated, I’ve been passed by someone older, heavier, or both.”

Tim understands that running isn’t for everyone, but feels that exercise should be part of every person’s routine.  “You don’t have to be a marathon runner to be healthy,” he said.  “Anything that gets you off the couch and moving is a good thing.”


Tim Ashley is proud of his Boston Marathon medals.

You can wear clothing with your hometown team and marathon crowds will voice their support. There is one exception to this rule, however. I won’t repeat some of the chants I’ve heard, but let’s just say that Boston fans aren’t as supportive of runners who don Yankee apparel.