Mary Harris, 93, climbs 160 steps from her house in Pacifica to get to the road. (Photo: Alex Washburn/The Chronicle)
Mary Harris, 93, of Pacifica must climb a hillside stairway to get from her beachfront home to civilization. She hikes out, then walks half a mile to catch public transit to San Francisco. It's all in the service of Democratic World Federalists, a peace organization where she has been the volunteer secretary for 20 years.
Why: Our road to Shelter Cove went out in 1982. My walking and climbing those stairs to do my volunteer work is a small price to pay.
Greatest accomplishment: Making two full round trips when I forgot my backpack a few months ago. This meant walking all the way back to my house. It is 160 steps to the base of the hill, then 160 stairs to the top. I still made it to the bus stop on time.
Gear you can't live without: Sturdy shoes, a backpack and books about world federation and the great need for it to end war.
Where you train: I probably "trained" in Paris from 1966 to 1968, walking up seven flights in an apartment without an elevator.
Time you get up in the morning: 6 when I do my volunteer work.
Best time to train: Whenever I leave my house.
Most annoying thing people assume about athletes in your sport: That I'm a mountain climber.
Advice you'd give a rookie: Walk a lot, eat and drink moderately, and watch your step. Have a purpose in your life greater than just yourself.
This article appeared April 4 on page E-2 of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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