This can be filed under: Age Is Not An Excuse.
Every time I think I may be a little long in the tooth to push myself athletically, the internet shames me, and I am forever grateful for that. Last year, just as I was getting ready to make concessions to age, I learned of the octogenarian nun who competes in triathlons. As 2017 started, I was running through a laundry list of reasons why the workout year is beginning slowly.
Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike.
He proved that prediction wrong again on Wednesday.
In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category — created especially for the tireless veteran — by riding 22.547 kilometers in one hour.
“I’m now waiting for a rival,” he said.
Marchand had ridden faster in the past on the boards of the Velodrome National, a state of the art venue used to host the elite of track cycling. But he had warned before his latest attempt that his current form was not as good.
“I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,” Marchand said after his effort. “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I’m not tired. I thought my legs would hurt, but they don’t. My arms hurt, you have to hurt somewhere.”
Three years ago at the same venue, Marchand covered 26.927 kilometers in one hour to better his own world record in the over-100s category.
So much for patting myself on the back because I once ran a marathon when I was 40.
Inspiration is out there everywhere for people who want to remain active, often very close. I have an 83-year-old uncle who plays on a highly competitive traveling softball team. His attitude is everything. He never talks about his age (maybe on his birthday). There is some evidence now that attitude can actually impact how we age.
Marchand is a great example of “you’re never too old” in more than one way. Not only is he accomplishing incredible things at an age most don’t expect to ever see, but he didn’t even begin cycling seriously until he was 68, which is an age many don’t associate with new athletic pursuits.
My running shoes are calling.