Regular readers know I read the New York City marathon results from the back to see the oldest finishers and finding meaning in the results, as in “On reading the 2010 New York City Marathon results.”
The other day I got the official result “magazine,” opened to the back and found Margaret Hagerty, a 91-year-old woman who finished the 2014 marathon. She finished two seconds behind a 58-year-old woman. Eight minutes later a 51-year-old man finished, the last finisher recorded. The next oldest finisher I found after her was an 82-year-old man who finished about an hour and twenty minutes earlier.
That means Ms. Hagerty was born during the roaring twenties and the Prohibition. By the time the 82-year-old man was born, the Great Depression had started. By the time the woman who finished two seconds before her was born a world war had started, ended, and another ten years past.
The marathon was cold this year, in the 40s while I ran and it got colder after, meaning she was out in the cold for the nearly ten hours she ran. I think they close the course to let cars drive long before then, meaning she ran most of it in the cold and dark, possibly alone, with little support or crowds to cheer. How deep do you have to dig to finish like that, probably reaching a finish line with no one there? Or did she have people looking out for her?
I couldn’t help looking her up and found this article from a few years ago, “Margaret Hagerty: 88 Year Old International Marathon Runner,” saying she holds the record for oldest person to run a marathon on all seven continents. She started running at 64 years old, to stop smoking. The article has a picture of her in front of a wall of trophies.
It looks like I spoke too soon about the next oldest finisher. One Johann Plajer of Austria was an 85-year-old man who finished. While six years her junior, he finished almost three hours earlier, at just under seven hours. I looked him up and he holds top world rankings for his age group in 100-meter, 200-meter, and other short distances, as well as the high jump and shot put.
Older runners may have finished, but I only looked in detail back a few pages, there are over a hundred pages of small-print results, and I see runners in their sixties with sub-five-hour finishes.
Jumping forward more, I see runners in their sixties with sub-four-hour times, close to my time, so some that age probably finished before me… Ah, yes, I found my time and here’s a 61-year-old man who finished two minutes before me. Oh, and here’s a 70-year-old man, John Grant of New York, who finished slightly before that.
I don’t know about you, but I find these results inspiring. What’s holding you back from doing something comparable? How much more inspiration is there around you in your every day life?
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