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Marty Lipstein, 82; Ran 119 Marathons

June 16, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Marty Lipstein, a longtime resident of Santa Monica who said he ran 119 marathons after taking up the sport in his late 40s, has died. He was 82.

Lipstein, called "Marathon Marty" by his friends and admirers, died June 9 of heart failure at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Lipstein served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

After the war he graduated from USC with a degree in physical education, but didn't take to the life of a teacher.

He worked as a barber instead.

A devoted swimmer before he took up running, Lipstein ventured into the cold waters off the Venice Beach pier each Jan. 1 for 35 years as a member of the Penguin Club.

He was a man of modest tastes who tried to heed Henry David Thoreau's admonition: Simplify, simplify. To that end he lived in a van near the beach for 14 years and didn't own a telephone until he had some health problems in 2000 and friends begged him to get one.

"The more you know, the less you need," he often said.

His running career ended after he collapsed in April 2000 and had a pacemaker installed to control his heartbeat. His final marathon was the Los Angeles event in 1999.

The Santa Monica-based environmental group Alliance for Survival will sponsor a summer solstice memorial tribute for Lipstein at noon Friday at Palisades Park's "Tree of Life," at Ocean and Colorado avenues in Santa Monica.

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