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Will Franks, who’s been competing in marathons since 1972, will do what he loves best this Sunday: run the New York City Marathon, for the 25th time.
Franks isn’t a typical 63-year-old. What started as a hobby in his Connecticut high school has become a way of life. He has run nearly 50 marathons and countless triathlons.

His first NYC Marathon was in 1982. He took a few years off following the birth of a son and then started back again in 1987. Every year thereafter, with the exception of 2000, Franks has competed.

“Running is just a way of life for me. I can’t imagine being without it,” Franks said. “I’ve slowed down a bit—I used to run twice a day, 15 miles a day, and now am doing only 30 to 40 miles a week, but it’s something I will always do.”

Like many others who move to the Virgin Islands, Franks and his wife took a leap of faith and moved to St. Croix to raise their three sons. They didn’t have jobs, but luckily Franks was an attorney and he quickly picked up work.

Franks said his wife will be flying down this year to meet him, and his sons will probably show up to cheer him near the eight-mile marker. He plans to eat a big spaghetti dinner Saturday night to load up with carbs so he can be ready for the big day.

This year, unlike years past, there will be a huge opening ceremony on Friday night in Central Park, where they will have a “parade of nations,” in which delegates for more than 75 countries will parade across the marathon finish line. Franks was asked by the NYC marathon committee to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands.