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Posted: March 30, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: Rise of the ageless runner

Champaign, IL-- Cynics might brand competitive older athletes as victims of mid-life crises, but when award-winning journalist Lee Bergquist decided to take up masters competitive track, he discovered a subculture of men and women who were challenging the notion of aging. He explores the phenomenon of the older athlete, including 50-year-old marathon runner and heart transplant recipient Greg Osterman, in his upcoming book Second Wind: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete (Human Kinetics, May 2009).

Osterman, a plumber by trade, ran his first marathon five years after receiving a new heart. He recounts his journey from death's door to marathon runner, and he encourages others to overcome adversity, set goals, and meet them. His goal is to run eighteen marathons.

"I didn't even know if I could run," says Osterman. "It gave me a sense of well-being and I just wanted to keep it going."

In Second Wind: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete, Bergquist describes the lives of more than a dozen athletes like Ireland who aren't letting age stop them from participating in sports. Stories range from a subculture of joggers who run every day for decades without taking a day off to those who prefer the 100-meter dash. Other stories include:

  • A retired state Supreme Court justice who became a champion powerlifter after she was nearly incapacitated by back and neck pain
  • A 79-year-old former Olympic swimmer who still swims three days a week
  • A 75-year-old grandmother who competes in long-distance ski races after cancer and an accident in which she broke her skull

"I've picked up a lot from the men and women in this book," Bergquist says. "They’ve changed my view of aging. They've showed me how most of us, with a little luck and a lifestyle of exercise can remain physically strong and vital well into our eighties."

For more information on Second Wind: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete or other sports and fitness books, visit www.HumanKinetics.com or call 800-747-4457.


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