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Running Over the Age of 30 ?

Running Over the Age of 30 ?

Ian Kemp's response to a letter sent to CoolRunning

August 1999

The letter

Can you please send me and direct me to information regarding running 
into your 30's as a female. I was told from a professional that you are over 
the hill and finished when you hit 30!! Not encouraging news as I have a pb 
of 33 over 10k and would like to show him some info backing my claim that 
you are NOT over when you hit a certain age!


Ian Kemp's response

Thanks for your mail!

To the person who says running is over at age 30, PAH!

As for some good ammunition, a biography of Heather Turland
might be a good place to start. Heather is one day older than me
(39yo) and began running competitively first in 1993 - in one of
her first events she finished 5th, yes in the City to Surf. At
age 37 she competed in the world champs marathon, and as many
will know she won the commonwealth games marathon at age 38.
A biog is at
(the biog is a few years old, before she became a 'household name').

Another person I might mention is a lady called Bernie Portenski
who lives right here is Wellington. At age 49 Bernie won the 
Auckland Marathon last October (beating me I might mention), her
3rd win in the race. She also set a world age record in the same
race. The Auckland win was her third in the year, having won 
the Rotorua Marathon in May and the Fiji Marathon soon after!
But wait there's more. After Winning in Auckland, Bernie got on
a plane for the US and ran in the NY Marathon the weekend after. Then
she flew back to New Zealand and ran the Christchurch Marathon the
weekend after that! Every one of those runs was quicker than my
top-quartile marathon PB.

Need more? From Arthur Lydiard's book:
New Zealander Jack Foster took up running when he was 32. Six years
later he ran a world 20-mile record and at 41 was a Commonwealth
Games silver medallist in 2:11:18. Alex Ratelle starting running in
his forties and was 56 when he ran his best marathon - 2:31:56.
Joyce Smith from England ran her best marathon (2:29:43) at age 44.
The 1984 Olympic marathon champion, Carlos Lopez, was 37. American
John Kelly ran his 53rd Boston Marathon (yes 53rd) at age 76.

It's a good job John Kelly didn't give up at 30 when he still had 46 
years of running ahead of him!

All the best,

---Ian--- Ian Kemp

This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

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