Robert E. “Bob” Ault

May 26, 1930 ‒ September 20, 2020

Marion, Ohio

Robert E. “Bob” Ault, aka “The Running Man”, has finished the race, logging his last mile on Sunday, September 20, 2020, at the Kingston Residence of Marion.

On May 26, 1930, Bob was born in Marion, Ohio, the oldest of four children of the late Virgil William and Orpha Belle (Price) Ault.  Bob graduated from Marion Harding High School in the class of 1948 and subsequently served in the US Army during the Korean War.

Upon his honorable discharge, he returned home to Marion, where he met his future bride, Marilyn “Joan” Ambrose, at a square dance.  From there, the rest was history.  They married on December 31, 1954, at the Wesley United Methodist Church.  They cherished their sixty five years of marriage and raised three children together: Craig, Bruce and Nancy.

After the military, Bob worked his way up as a linesman, to installer repairman, to switchman at the General Telephone & Electronics Corporation.  He retired after 40 years at GTE, but didn’t slow down.

Bob initially took up running in 1965 after deciding he wanted to lose the 50 pounds he had gained since he stopped smoking.  In the beginning, he could barely run a half-mile, but he kept pushing himself further and further down the road on his route.  In 1971, he started logging his miles, keeping a daily record of the distances he was pushing himself to.  In 1975, he completed his first marathon in Toledo.  In 1980, he competed in the very first Columbus Marathon.  He later became a local legend as a member of the Columbus Marathon “Veterans Club,” ultimately running in every race since it’s inauguration for 25 years. He added swimming and biking to his training, completing countless triathlons including an Ironman endurance marathon, swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. By 2003, he had completed 132 marathons, including three Boston Marathons. He was proud of his personal best marathon time of 2 hours and 51 minutes.

Bob loved the thrill of the competition. He ran, biked and swam with fierce determination, and for him it was all about finishing.  He kept putting one foot in front of the other, always finishing the race.  Well known in the area, and rarely missing a day of training, he could always be seen running his normal route down Fairground Street, or at his “second home”, the Marion Family YMCA.

In addition to running for the thrill of the competition, he ran for his love of ice cream.  He hated gaining weight, but also knew he couldn’t put down a tub of ice cream.  Joan learned early on, if she wanted to serve ice cream at an upcoming family occasion, she needed to hide it.

Bob and Joan used his marathons and triathlons as a good reason to travel and see as much of the United States as they could.  They visited all of the 48 continental states, and camped in nearly every National Park in those states with their children. They rode together throughout Ohio on the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventures (GOBA), week-long bicycle rides.

All along his journey, his wife, Joan, was always his biggest supporter and fan.  In their younger days, she would run and bike with him, until injuries limited the miles she could log.  When she wasn’t competing in the races, she would be waiting wherever she could along the race to smile, wave, coach and cheer him on.

While much of life was focused on his daily exercise goals and routines, he also was a “softy” for his grandkids.  He always made them a priority, and could even be counted on to babysit after retiring, often taking his youngest granddaughter to McDonald’s to drink coffee, and chat with the other retired “Bobs” of Marion.  He was a dog lover, always having a canine companion to spoil.  His tendency for napping on the couch at family functions made him the lap dogs’ favorite.

Left to cherish his memory are his three children: Craig (Keely) Ault of Marion, Bruce Ault of Columbus, and Nancy (David) Buck of Caledonia; five grandchildren: Robert (Melissa) Ault, Brad Ault, Stephanie (Fred) Ingram, Jamie Buck, Sarah (Brock) Buck-Davis; five great-grandchildren: Caleb and Skyler Ault, Marilyn and Margaret Ingram, and Sutton Davis; three siblings: Joan Couts, Ronald Ault, and Damon (Mary Lou) Ault; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandson, Andrew Ault.

His family will greet friends from 5 – 7 pm on Friday, September 25, 2020, at the Snyder Funeral Homes, Gunder/Hall Chapel, 347 W. Center St., Marion.  Services honoring his life will also be held there at 10 am on Saturday.  Burial with military honors provided by the Marion County United Veterans Council will follow in Marion Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to an organization Bob and Joan have always been passionate about, the American Red Cross, 1849 Summerset Dr, Marion, OH 43302.  He and Joan donated gallons of blood over the years, and would be proud if you scheduled an appointment to donate blood the next chance you could.

Snyder Funeral Homes, Gunder/Hall Chapel, are honored to serve Bob’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting

  • William&Becky Williamson we were so sorry to hear about your lost ,Bob was a kind man good person to work with . are prayers will be with you

  • My sincere condolences to the Family, The Bible tells us about the hope for all who die.John 5:28,29. The Resurrection! On Earth! You will be reunited with your love one again!