Behind The Numbers
By Harry Hall
Clayton Duff and I smiled as we post-race jogged to chat with fellow runner Orville Rogers.
All three of us had just finished the Dallas Running Club 4-Mile. I clocked a 38:25.
Orville complained about his time of 50:16.
“I didn’t do well today,” he said, “I can’t understand why I ran so slow.”
Clayton and I jogged off, snickering.
“Maybe,” I said chuckling, “it’s because he’s 91 years old.”
Rogers didn’t start jogging until he was 50, inspired as so many of his generation were, by Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s landmark book, “Aerobics.”
Nearly a decade ago, Rogers began an athletic journey into becoming a Masters running legend.
Since turning 90, Rogers is undefeated in race distances ranging from 60 meters to 3k, and he has rewritten the 90+ age-group record books, setting 13 world records. He believes he’s the only runner to clock a 10-minute mile at age 90 and a 15-minute mile at 95. He’s been featured on a number of local, regional and national television interviews, including FOX News, AP, and Texas Country Reporter.
I little over a year ago, I saw Orville running laps around the indoor track at Dallas’ Aerobics Center.
“You going to any Masters Meets this year?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. There’s no more world records I can break.”
Well Orville did compete in February’s USATF Masters Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, NM.
Competing against a much younger Dixon Hemphill (92), the 99-year old Rogers fell behind early, but closed on his youthful rival before winning by .05.
The video went viral.
But next month, Orville will reach another milestone
On November 28, Orville will turn 100. He plans to continue competing. But now, he won’t be rewriting records; he’ll be writing them.
According to USATF track lists, only one outdoor running record exists for 100-year olds, and only two for indoors.