Behind The Numbers

Orville Rogers

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.

Rogers

Orville Rogers

“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.

Rogers

Orville Rogers

“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.

Harry Hall's bio

Harry Hall

Harry Hall grew up with the North Texas running community. While running for Irving MacArthur High School in the mid-'70s, he set several school and meet records, and ran in the Texas state cross-country championships. He continued running after college, completed a total of 18 marathons, including two Bostons. At the 1982 White Rock Marathon, he clocked his PR of 2:27.

Harry spent several years coaching collegiate track and cross-country and working as a personal trainer. In the late '80s he entered the professional writing world, covering athletic events from local races to the Olympic Trials and other national sporting events. His work appeared in several publications, most notably Runner-Triathlete News, Health and Fitness Sport, and the Dallas Morning News.

He continued moving from athletics to communications, and even wrote two books.

The first, released in 2011, is based on his experiences in radio, Toastmasters International, and teaching public speaking. It's titled, Help! Everyone is Staring at Me.

In late 2014, Harry completed a 12 year project when he released, The Pedestriennes, America's Forgotten Superstars, the first book ever written about the professional female endurance walkers who from 1876-1881, dazzled America with their on and off track exploits. It's won three national writing awards and Competitor.com included it on its list of, "Greatest Running Books." It's also been turned into a screenplay.

Both books are available at www.amazon.com and www.harryhallspeaks.com

Harry lives in Grand Prairie with his wife Susie, their teen son Zane and Zane's best friend, Scamp (Pooch) Hall.