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Inspiring Stories

Fantastic Friday: Senior Citizen Marathon Runners Edition

This past Monday saw Kenyans continue to dominate the Boston Marathon in unprecedented fashion, with the top 3 finishers on both the men’s and women’s field coming from the East African country that is the gold standard of long distance running.  The men’s winner, Wesley Korir finished in a ridiculous 2:12:40 while the women’s winner, Sharon Cherop, set the pace at 2:31:50 in temperatures that reached 85 degrees and were likely much hotter than that as they pounded (or glided more appropriately) on the 26.2 miles of pavement.

Personally, I remember Patriots Day fondly from my days growing up in Boston when my mother and I would go out to the route and provide encouragement and pass out water to runners that passed as they neared Heartbreak Hill.  But we would always leave the house after the winners had crossed the finish line, which would put us on the side of the road as the masses of “regular” people passed.  Some were running for themselves. Others were running for others – charities, loved ones, etc.  But it was inspiring nonetheless to see people determined to reach their goal.

With that in mind, I was struck by this story about runners who ran the Boston Marathon who were further along in their years.  According to the article:

Over the past decade, the number of older runners participating in the Boston Marathon has more than quadrupled. A record 596 runners age 65 and older registered for Monday’s race, 47 of whom were age 75 and older

This year’s oldest runner was Keith Wood, 83, a retired accountant from Sultan, Wash., who decided to start running marathons at the tender age of 72. He has since run about 40 marathons, which he said includes ultramarathons, or races as much as double the 26.2-mile distance of a marathon.

Wow.  Just wow.

And not only are these older runners competing, but they are finishing the race…and kicking ass as they cross the finish line…

Last year, of 464 runners age 65 and older who registered to run, more than 83 percent finished the race. The fastest was a 65-year-old from Canada who ran in an astounding 3:04:52 – about an hour better than my best time over five marathons – and fast enough to have qualified to run in the youngest age bracket.

Now I have another excuse for not running marathons: The prospect (make that a certainty) of a 70 year old showing me the bottoms of his / her New Balances is too much for this ego to bear.  So…I promise I’ll get started on my marathon running when I hit 65 (riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight)!

Have a Fantastic Friday everyone!

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