I have learned a lot of new things and met lots of new people over the weekend. But one of the most important things I learned was “one is never too old to run a marathon.”
I just came back from a conference in the South of France. In Nice, to be quite exact. It was warm (but not hot) and sunny and the color of the sea and the sky makes you realize why this area is called Cote d’Azur. From day 1 on, I was especially impressed by the number of joggers I saw at the Promenade des Anglais facing the Bay of Angels. Could the French (or least Nice’s winter residents) be really that fond of running?
Arriving on Thursday, I was kicking myself for not bringing my running gear. I thought that during the 2.5 day educational trip, I won’t be able to find the time to run. But the weather and the scenery along the promenade were just perfect that one can think of running all the way to Monaco and back. Then I saw the posters and it became clear to me that the French Riviera, the European senior citizens’ get away at this time of the year, has suddenly turned into a runners’ paradise. Sunday, the 14th November was the Nice marathon. And boy, was I sorry not to be able to see it. My return flight was booked for Saturday evening.
At the conference I met a young lady at least 15 years my junior and we got to talking about running. She has already done a couple of marathon runs in her much shorter lifetime. As usual, I went on about my dream of running one but citing my (middle) age as the reason (or rather excuse?) for not fulfilling my dream.
And this girl flagger blasted me even more when she told me her 50 plus parents recently run the Athens marathon. The message she managed to convey is this: no one is too old to run a 42.195 km in one go. This young girl put me to shame for making excuses but also inspired me to go for that dream and forget about my age.
Indeed, when googling around, I found news articles about marathon runners as old as 80, 90 or even 100.
Here a couple of those articles:
- 101-Year-Old Marathon Runner
- 81-year-old marathon runner uses stranger’s catheter to finish race
- A 98-year-old marathon runner has set his sights on breaking the world record for the oldest ever marathon runner
Or what about this from the founder of the blog Old-Runner.Com
“I began running on Labor Day Weekend in 2008 at the age of 56 and started this blog to document my trials and tribulations as a runner. I had lost 50 pounds on WeightWatchers and felt better than I had in years. I’m still here two years later and am happy to say I have averaged 50 races per year since I started although I’m thinking about racing a little less in my third year of running.”
But it is not about setting and breaking records and hitting the headlines. It’s about going for that dream and setting an example for my children.
Yes, I may not be that young anymore but I am not too old to run a marathon yet. Besides, running slows the effects of aging.
So stay tuned for more running updates from me!
And thank you, V, for the inspiration.