You often hear people say, "Age is just a number.'

Manhattan's Marvin Hachmeister doesn't say it, he lives it.

When the 30th anniversary Sunflower State Games officially got under way Saturday morning with the Cauldron Run at Lake Shawnee, the 88-year-old Hachmeister was on the starting line and ready to run, just as he has been for 18 straight years.

"I've run all of them in Topeka,'' Hachmeister said proudly.

Hachmeister, who grew up in Natoma, Kansas and ran track at Fort Hays State, still tries to run an area road race once every two weekends.

In fact, Saturday's Sunflower State Games marked the first time that Hachmeister didn't run the longer 10-kilometer race, cutting back to 5K.

"This is the first year I've run the five; you caught me,'' Hachmeister said with a laugh. "You know you've got a mind up here, too, and a lot of it's in your mind when you get ready to do it.

"This year, before I came over I decided, "OK, I'm just going to do the five.''

As he regularly does, Hachmeister won his age division while finishing 69th overall in a time of 36 minutes, 45.1 seconds.

For Hachmeister, who ran a 4:20 mile in his competitive track days, it's not about his time or place, but about staying active.

"I took a break (from running) there in the middle and actually I didn't get started into real serious running until 1979,'' he said. "I found out I could run yet, and I've run ever since then.

"You've got to stay at it. If you quit for a week or two it's difficult to get back. It's in your mind and I really like to do it because of the physical thing, but I also love the people.

"I think I'd disappoint them if I wasn't here.''

Hachmeister, who continues to farm, said he's been able to stay healthy and doesn't plan to step away from the sport he loves any time soon.

"I don't have any intentions of quitting,'' he said. "My goal is 90, which is two years, but then I'll set another goal hopefully.''

Hachmeister has already had to re-set his goal a time or two over his long career.

"At 80 I decided I wanted to run until 90, but I said, "Well, let's do 85 first,' '' he said. "I made that one.''

Hachmeister said the bottom line is that he loves being a part of the running community.

"That is the thing, especially if you're by yourself,'' he said. "I'm widowed, and people are a therapy. They really are!''