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78-year-old Mainer continues 30-year kayaking streak

At least once every month for the last three decades, Larry Merrill has kayaked with his handmade paddles.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Despite Wednesday's below-freezing temperatures, 78-year-old Larry Merrill hit the water with his kayak to continue his decades-long streak.

 At least once a month for the last 30 years, Merrill has taken his kayak out on the water in Maine with his handmade paddles.

Merrill's passion for kayaking started by competing with his friends. He has participated in and won many Kenduskeag Stream Canoe races over the years, along with road races like 5Ks and half marathons. 

Merrill said his dedication to fitness started later in life.

"When I was a kid I was a horrible athlete... short, fat, slow, everything. Now most of the competition has died so I'm pretty good relatively speaking... I guess my theory is if I keep moving, age can't catch up with me," Merrill said. 

He said he generally tries to keep an active lifestyle.

"I lift weights a little. I walk and/or run. I paddle, I bike. I just try to stay physically active... I try to eat reasonably well," Merrill added.

Merrill said he plans on running and paddling in a number of races in Maine coming up this year.  

"There's no reason I'm planning to end my streak at 30 [years]. I told someone the other day I'm aiming for 50. I want to be 98 [years old]," Merrill said. 

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