Many, many years ago when I was living in San Diego, there was a group of older guys who would meet every week at Balboa Park about the same time I did speed work with a bunch of my 20-something contemporaries. The older guys, who must have been in their 40s, seemed well beyond ancient and we couldn’t understand why they would even bother running at that age. (We were idiots; what can I say?)
Later, I found out why these older guys were running. They were all part of a long-range study being performed at San Diego State that was looking at whether running and exercise could have a significant role to extend the life span.
These guy formed the nucleus of the 40 Plus running movement started by such pioneers as David Pain who founded masters track in San Diego in 1968. Pain and other San Diego runners such as Jim O’Neil, Bill Gookin and Shirley Matson made mature runners part of the running fabric and showed that you could be old and still fast.
They also reinforced the notion that running could add years to your life. Since those early studies, there have been numerous other studies that confirmed the same thing, including several by the 50-Plus Running Club at Stanford.
The latest to show the relationship between running and aging actually puts some numbers with it. An ongoing study of residents of Copenhagen, Denmark who engaged in small amounts of easy running (1-2 ½ hours per week) increased the life expectancy of the subjects by 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women, compared to more sedentary residents of Copenhagen.
The study involved 20,000 Copenhagens who were between the ages of 20 and 93 in 1976 when the study began. Said Peter Schnor, the chief cardiologist at the Copenhagen City Heart Study: “Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise.”
Not sure what he means by the last part of that statement, but if you need any reason to start running or continue running into your Golden Years, here’s additional proof that you’ll live a better, longer life if you run.
- Runners on the Butler Hiking and Bike Trail were greeted yesterday morning with what looks like a temporary, protective plastic barrier along Cesar Chavez at the Lamar Bridge. This comes in the wake of the tragic death of 81-year-old John Griffith who was hit by a car on Monday afternoon while walking on the trail. According to APD, Joseph Rosales was headed east on Cesar Chavez when his car went over the curb and hit Griffith and a 47-year-old woman on the trail who suffered broken bones. Evidently, Rosales simply walked away from the scene while frantic runners and walkers tried to save Griffith. Rosales, 21, was later booked into jail and charged with second degree felony manslaughter and for failure to stop and render aid. I certainly don’t know if we need a barrier at Lamar or any other place on the trail, but it definitely makes me more aware of the need for the Boardwalk which will eliminate the truly dangerous section along Riverside and the I-35 crossing.
- Scott MacPherson, Austin’s top runner, has announced on his blog that he is giving up in his pursuit of a ’12 Olympic Trials qualifier. ScottyMac gave it a shot in the Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston in January, but, after being on contention early in the race, finished a disappointing 80th in 2:27:15 in his first marathon. MacPherson then tried qualifying in the steeple but finished 10th on a rainy night in Guadaloupe last week and later said that would be his last steeple and maybe even his last track race. Hopefully, it’s just for the foreseeable future, but MacPherson said he will concentrate on marathon training for the next four years with an eye on the ’16 Olympic Marathon Trials. Nobody asked me my opinion, but my two cents is ScottyMac is way too young and talented to give up on the track so soon and devote himself to the marathon.
- The amazing Kelly Williamson continued her winning ways last weekend. The 35-year-old Austin pro triathlete won the Rev 3 Knoxville Tri (Olympic distance) in a time of 2:01 (her fastest ever) and had the fastest run split (natch) of 35:12. Amanda Lovato was 14th in Knoxville in 2:10:18.
- Meanwhile, at the St. Croix 70.3, Lance Armstrong placed third. His Lanceness was about 80 seconds down after the swim, but forged into the lead over Andy Potts 45 miles into the bike and had a 1:45 lead heading into the run. Armstrong held that lead for about three miles, but Potts and Stephane Poulat ran him down. Potts was credited with a 1:19 half (he actually ran 1:12) and Armstrong had a 1:25, but those times probably include transition and are off a bit. Armstrong’s next race is supposed to be another 70.3 in Haines City, Florida on May 20.
- A flock of Austinites journeyed north last weekend in search of cooler temps and hot times at the Vancouver Marathon in beautiful BC. The Austin contingent was led by Scott Merritt who was 48th overall in 2:56:18. Other Austin times include Mike Wedel (3:03:26), Joseph Kozusko (3:03:53), Kirk Larson (3:06:31), Minh Duong (3:26:45), Ryan Zysk (3:29:08), Jesse Strillich (3:35:55), Steve Epstein (3:42:45), Barry Peterson (343:22) and Remi Bell (3:43:36).
- Our friends Josh and Meg Hare at Hops & Grain are busting with pride with the news that their Alt-eration has been selected as the top German-style Brown Ale by the World Beer Cup 2012. If you can’t get down to their brew pub (507 Calles Street, at the east end of 6th), you can pick up Alt-eration at HEB and Whole Foods.
- Congrats to Matt and Hayley Sorenson on their adoption of nearly three-year-old Avery.
- Micah True, AKA, Caballo Blanco, the mountain runner who died while on a run last month in New Mexico at the age of 58, evidently had cardiomyopathy which, coupled with mild dehydration, may have been a contributing factor in his death. But the autopsy couldn’t definitively pinpoint a cause of death.
- Registration opens June 1st for ther 43rd annual MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon which will be held on a slightly revised course on December 9th. Go to www.runtherock.com to register.
- There’s no question that women have come a long way in the last 40 years. Prior to 1972, women were all but excluded from road races and a mere sighting of a woman road runner in the 70s was rarer than Big Foot. But last year, seven million women finished a road race in the U.S. Two great examples of the predominance of women in running: In 2011, nearly 60 percent of all half-marathon finishers last year were women. And in the recent Boston Marathon, 42 percent (11,152) of the entrants were women.
- It might not have been great years for the Longhorn football, basketball or baseball programs, but at least the track guys and gals are earning great grades. (Small consolation to season ticket holders.) The UT men’s distance runners placed Nate Christianson, Colin Smith, Austin Roth, Will Nation and Kevin Rayes on the Big 12 first team All Academic team (3.2 GPA or higher). As usual, Steve Sisson’s Longhorn women distance runners excelled in the classroom. Julie Amthor, Laleh Mojtabaeezamani and Anne Jones all recorded perfect GPAs to make Big 12 first team All Academic as did Marielle Hall, Jessica Harper, Virginia Simon and Megan Siebert.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Live from the Moody Theater” by the Warren Haynes Band. Recorded last April here in the ATX, this smoking show is by the great guitarist for Gov’t Mule and occasional sideman for the Allman Brothers.
Have any juicy news for me? (It doesn’t have to be entirely true.) If you have something, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.