Don’t let anyone dismiss you after a certain birthday. Age is just a number, and stepping over the proverbial hill can present exciting new viewpoints and opportunities. While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing through the retirement years (you’ve earned the right!), many seniors over the age of 65 have gone on to have great accomplishments and make significant contributions to the world. Check out these so-called old folks’ impressive feats and be inspired.
You’re Never Too Old to Run 26.2 Miles
If you think you have to hang up your running shoes after a certain age, think again. There are many elderly marathoners who can complete a 26-mile run and outpace younger athletes. Harriette Thompson, an accomplished concert pianist who survived cancer twice, took up running at the ripe young age of 76. On May 31, 2015 she became the oldest woman to run a marathon at a race in San Diego. She was 92 years and 93 days old, and finished the race in an impressive 7:24:36 time. To top it off, she went back to that same race two years later and, at 94, secured the record for the oldest woman to complete a half marathon, finishing in 3 hours, 42 minutes, 56 seconds.
Then there’s Ed Whitlock, an English-born Canadian who was the first person over the age of 70 to run a marathon in less than 3 hours. He was 72 when he finished a marathon in 2:59:10. He shaved more than four minutes off that time the following year.
Fauja Singh holds the honor of being the first centenarian to finish a marathon along, with other records in multiple age-brackets from his races throughout the years. He is currently 108 years old, and while his racing days are behind him, he still jogs daily around London.
Climb Every Mountain
On May 22, 2003, at 70 years, 7 months and 10 days old, Yuichiro Muira became the oldest man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He climbed it again in 2008, and while his record as oldest climber had been broken by that point, he did get to lay claim to be the only climber to reach the summit twice in his 70s. A series of health set backs plagued him for the next few years, including several heart operations and a broken pelvis. But the mountain called again. On May 23, 2013, he became the oldest person – again – to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. At 80, he was ten years older than the first time he achieved the title. Rumor has it he plans to do it again at 90.
There’s a saying in Japan that “A wise man climbs Fuji once. Only a fool climbs it twice.” Call him a fool if you must, but Teiichi Igarashi climbed Mount Fuji every year since he was 89 years old. He became the first centenarian to conquer Japan’s tallest mountain in 1987. A week before, 91-year-old American Hulda Crooks became the oldest woman to reach the 12,385-foot summit of the dormant volcano.
This Guy is Out of This World
I guess he wasn’t satisfied being the just first American to orbit the Earth. John Glenn had to make history again by becoming the oldest space traveler ever in 1998 when, at 77 years young, he took a nine day trip on the space shuttle Discovery and orbited our planet 134 times. Of course, this wasn’t just a joy ride for record-setting kicks. He served as payload specialist, and participated in experiments to test how his older body responded to being in a weightless environment.
Go North, Old Woman
In 2004, Dorothy Davenhill achieved the distinction of being the oldest person to reach the North Pole. The former soldier and world traveler was 89 years and 109 days (because every day matters) at the time. It’s never too late to fulfill your travel bucket list.
He Had a Finger Lickin’ Good Idea at Age 65
For some people, 65 is the age to kick back and retire. For others, that’s just the starting line. Take Colonel Harland Sanders. He started his Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain in 1952, when he was 65 years old. They say he tried and failed to launch this venture 1009 times before he hit franchising success, which is a testament to perseverance if there ever was one.
These Seniors Had a Way With Words
Noah Webster was a lexicographer and a language reformer often called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” It took 28 years to complete, but he published the American Dictionary of American Spelling in 1828 when he was 70. It brought legitimacy to the distinctive American language which has its own idioms, pronunciations and style.
Have you ever been stuck for a word and looked up a synonym or antonym in a thesaurus? Thank Peter Roget for that. He published his famous classified collection of related words the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases in 1852 at the age of 73.
Because of these two septuagenarians, you’ll never be at a loss for words.