1 November 2011


I've been a bit slack with exercise lately. I'm not too bad at running up and down the stairs, but along the road? The dogs would tell you that I am slipping up badly.

I phoned my dad tonight. No reply. No worries, I thought, he'll be out running. I tried later. Yes, the chirpy 91 year old replied, I've been run-walking for two hours and ten minutes. You see, he has got some records to set. Some young things have been coming up the ranks and breaking some of his earlier ones.

We talked about his progress. No, he's not running nearly as well as he would like to. He has slowed down. His physio gave him some advice, but not trusting it entirely he tested it out. He has good reason. At 50 he was told to give up running, it was not good for him. At 63 he ran his first marathon, and at 71 his first track event. His medal haul is a heavy stash. It includes world event golds and silvers. But in this instance the physiotherapist was right. He needs longer breaks between his training runs. So he runs longer distances, but only every second day.

The doctor (when he was 50) was wrong, he chuckles, reflecting on his disobedience. You've got to take a chance or two sometimes... nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Be careful, I'll quote you on that, I reply. He chuckles again. Life is good. Then he says, perhaps after he sets those new records he'll retire. Neither of us believe him. And a few sentences later he admits that he has no intention of stopping. He will just keep on running.

But for now, his eyes are on records. Good ones. Ones that will stay in the record books for a while.

He is listed in World Famous Athletes. I'd say it's well deserved. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?

I hope you've bought yourself new shoes, I say, making a resolve to at least put mine on again tomorrow. I remember saying (often) that I still have plenty of time. I don't need to run my first marathon until I am 63.

I guess I'll have to at least run as far as the first lamp post tomorrow. Those years are flying by far too fast.

Today I am grateful for my inspirational father.


Helen said...

Your Dad is the hero of many many New Zealand Masters athletes. All some see of him is the view of the back of his shirt as he leads them home in races. He is a real inspiration.

Teacake said...

Inspirational indeed!

PS A thought: If you are running your first marathon at 63 - you said it! - you want to be training for your first marathon by 62 ;-)

PPS The Berlin marathon is flat and scenic, and held annually in late September. And it's on my list of things to do...

Kay said...

OK, it's a date. Berlin, September, 2015. I think I'd better start training now... but slowly! It needs to be a gentle process, I missed out on the running genes but I'm glad that they made it through to all of you!