Wellness

Am I too old to run?

Am I too old to run?

By Chris Strub

Am I too old to run?

If the tale of Fauja Singh is any indication, the answer is a resounding ‘no.'
In October 2011, Singh, also known as the ‘Turbaned Tornado,' became the first 100-year-old to finish a marathon, completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds.

At the same race in 2003, at age 92, Singh ran his personal best: 26.2 miles in 5 hours, 40 minutes.

Of course, Singh's story likely won't inspire a racing renaissance from the Southern Tier centenarians, but a closer look at the statistics finds that longer runs tend to attract older runners.

Read more about Fauja Singh's story from the BBC

According to Running USA, in 2011, the average female 5K runner was 32.7 years old. The average half-marathoner was 35.2, and the average marathon runner was 36.0.

The distinction is sharper among male runners: the average 5K runner is 34.0 years old; half-marathon, 38.1 years old; marathon, 39.6 years old.

Since 1990, the number of road race competitors across the U.S. has nearly tripled, with women accounting for the majority of the growth. In 1990, 1.1 million women and 3.6 million men finished at least one race; in 2011, those numbers ballooned to 6.3 million men and 7.7 million women.

Every runner has his own reasons for running, but they all reap the variety of health benefits. Running has been proven to reduce the chances of everything from the common cold to cancer, ensure efficient blood flow and oxygen flow, relieve stress, lose weight and increase happiness.

Think you're too old to start? The 361,000 Facebook users who ‘like' ‘The Couch-to-5K Running Plan' would beg to differ. The popular program has helped countless non-athletes "get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months." (It is widely recommended that anyone over age 50 should have a check-up before starting running, or any physical exercise.)

Need real-life inspiration? The Valley Running Club (www.valleyrunningclub.org) serves Tioga & Chemung counties, as well as Sayre, Athens, Waverly and Bradford County, Pa. The Triple Cities Runners Club and the Finger Lakes Running Club also sport hundreds of members each.

Running can also be charitable - for example, Team In Training (www.teamintraining.org) has helped raise more than $875 million in blood cancer research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Seeking a close-to-home goal? The Wineglass Marathon, considered one of the premier races in the Northeast, finishes on historic Market Street in Corning. The race, presented by Arnot Health, features a full marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles). Race weekend is Oct. 4-6 - no word yet on registration by the ‘Turbaned Tornado.'

We asked on our Facebook and Twitter pages: "Why do you run?"

Dustin James 36. I run because I want to stay as fit and healthy as possible as I get older. I don't want my weight, cardiac health, joint pain or anything else to stand in the way of enjoying life!

Gregory Collins 1) 48 2) Because I can.

Adrienne Bevilacqua Im 29 and i run because it puts me in my mental happy place

  • L-A @CutieLA

@HealthyLifeMag @ChrisStrub 41 to preserve my mom's memory, make a Difference, find a cure for blood cancers, leave a legacy and get healthy