How old is to old?

This upcoming weekend there are a couple big races.  The ING New York City Marathon (which yet again I am not a part of) and the inaugural Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon (which I am going to be a part of) and these two races are going to yet again prove to many people the strength and perseverance of the human body and soul.  There is one age group in general though that I would like to discuss.

Recently in the news there was a great story about Fauja Singh who at the ripe young age of 100 years old completed the Toronto Marathon on October 16th.  This weekend thousands of runners age60 and older will be running!  In New York the official tally shows that there will be 2,634 runners running the race that are aged 60 or older.  One of those runners in New York is a woman named Joy Johnson.  She is 84 years young and will completing her 24th consecutive New York City Marathon.  84 seems a bit older than the normal stereotype of a marathon runner but she is joining the ranks of many older folks who are competing in races all across the US and the world.  Johnson didn’t begin running until she was 59 and now she figures when its time to go, she wants to go wearing her running shoes.

Many (and by many I mean a lot) of studies have been done over the years studying runners and bone density.  A recent Stanford research study once again showed that the pounding from running helps maintain bone density.  This according to Barbara Bushman, author of the American College of Sports Medicine’s complete Guide to Fitness and Health.  Bushman says running also improves good cholesterol levels, muscle mass and oxygen-carrying capacity, making daily activities like carrying groceries easier, and enhances body composition by decreasing fat that can be a trigger to type 2 diabetes.

Johnson, and many older runners like her know this and that is why they keep on doing what they love.  Even though she is not setting any land speed records, she says that just crossing the finish line is where the satisfaction comes from.  Johnson plans on finishing the New York Marathon in 6 hours and from the sounds of her focus and dedication, she will.

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