Noel Johnson, 96, the oldest man to finish the New York Marathon. Johnson, overweight and a smoker for 35 years, began running as a senior citizen. His life insurance had been canceled, his heart was giving out and he was too weak to walk around the block. But within two years, he was setting records for the mile and the half-mile in his age group. From ages 70 to 90 he ran about 21 marathons, including New York's when he was 83. He also held a boxing record in the International Senior Olympics. Johnson attributed his late-found physical prowess to bee pollen. At the time of his death, he was writing a book titled "A Dud at 70, a Stud at 80." On Sunday in Pacific Beach, Calif., of heart failure.