When are you too old to run?

Next month 397 adults over the age of 70 are prepared to run 26.2 miles in the New York City Marathon. Ginette Bedard is one of them. She also ran the marathon last year and she finished in 5:10:42, not a bad time for anyone but exceptionally good when you consider that Ginette is 82 years old.  EIGHTY TWO!

Ginette Bedard

Hell, I hope I have the good fortune just to live to see 82, and if I’m still able to run, well that will be a bonus.

I love reading the advice of some of the older runners and I always like talking to them at races. I ran a half one time and the lady behind me was 65. Her name was Barbara and when I say behind me, I mean she was on my heels the entire time. She killed it and I could hardly wait to tell her how much she motivated me when it was over. She was quite impressive.

Motivation is different for everybody. You just have to find what motivates you and go with it. Typically I’m motivated when I see results, such as new PR’s, that really helps, but lately I’ve been more motivated by the muffin top that crept up over the last year and needs to be eradicated.  That’s what is working for me currently.  It is what it is.

I’m also motivated when I watch the Chicago Marathon and see that Deena Kastor, at age 42, just ran a 2:27:47 setting a new master’s record and that of the top 100 women finishers, 9 of them were over 40.

There’s a man in my neighborhood who runs 4 or 5 times a week. I’ve also seen him at several local races. He runs with his dog, a hound mix who looks so happy to be out running beside his master that it always makes me smile. I’ve seen this man for years and only recently did I stop to talk to him.

He told me he was 76 and I was stunned. I thought he was around 60. I asked him what his secret was and he said that he didn’t really have one. He said he just gets up every day and moves. He said strength and flexibility are the keys to running as you get older and that if you keep those two things in check you can run forever.

It’s so nice to get advice from an older runner instead of the typical advice I get from the older people in my neighborhood which is more along the lines of, ‘you’re gonna wear your knees out’ or ‘if you don’t stop all that running your uterus is gonna fall out’. I guess they don’t realize how healthy my knees are or that I don’t really need my uterus anymore. In fact, if it fell out I’d just kick it to the side and keep going.  Good riddance uterus.

I think the older gentleman in my neighborhood is correct, if you keep up with your strength and flexibility you can run as long as you want to and I believe you can also be competitive at any age.  You might disagree with me but I don’t think Ginette Bedard or Deena Kastor would, do you?

Are you motivated when you see older people out running?
Are there a lot of older people who run where you run?
What motivates you the most to get out and run?

10 thoughts on “When are you too old to run?

  1. There are not a ton of older runners where I live in Michigan. More cyclist then anything which is nice. When I pull into the the rail trail and see an older couple out for a bike ride, I wonder if that will be my husband and I one day. LOL probably not. 🙂 Hey an old lady can dream!

    • LOL, I have thought about that before because my husband loves to ride his bike, me, not so much. I think when we’re 70 he’ll still be pedaling about town and I’ll be in the back… inside one of those attached dog carrier thingy’s. 😉

  2. My mom is 74 and an absolute inspiration to me. She runs several times pr. week as well as do circuit style strength training.. On top of this she rides a ton of miles on her bike – a road bike in the summer, and in the autumn/winter it’s a mountain bike in terrain… At the start of autumn we race a half-marathon together (well – we start together anyway – she can’t keep up, though she is still just a tad over 2 hours) – and in the winter we run medium distance trail-races together.
    Even though her approach to running is different from mine, I am more of a “book & science” guy when it comes to learning about running, there is always something she can teach me – not least to just enjoy the sport.

    • I absolutely LOVE this! How awesome it must be to be able to run with your mom and she does strength training and rides her bike, that’s so amazing. I am so happy that you shared this and I hope you are able to run with your mom for many more years. 🙂

  3. I’m envious and motivated when I see older people running…many faster than me.
    Well, I do live in a retiree destination so yes I see many older people.
    Weight and keeping healthy motivates me.
    Ha, I was thinking, man I wish my uterus would fall out! Freaky but worth it. 🙂 I do worry about my joints.

  4. I love when I’m running and see older people out there as well. It proves to me that as long as you keep believing that you can do it, you can do it. You can accomplish anything you want!

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