Ultra Marathon Runners Defy Aging by Staying Active

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Ultra Marathon Runners Defy Aging by Staying Active

Staying fit and active is an important part of aging! We love to hear inspiring stories from those who stay moving

CareLink recently had the opportunity to chat with two amazing athletes and ultra-marathon runners, Lou Peyton and Pete Ireland. The two have been running for nearly half a century and have much to say about the sport. Take a look at these inspiring interviews and the runners’ advice for other seniors who want to stay active and healthy.

Q. How long have you been a runner?

Lou: I stated running in 1968 when my son was six weeks old.

Pete: I began running in 1965. Mostly short distances – rarely more than two or three miles at a time. Back then, I ran almost every day.


Q. What is your typical training week like?

Lou: I meet with a loose-knit running group on three times a week. I try to cover eight miles. If I am tired I might walk the second half. I am not too hard on myself.

Pete: With age, my typical training week has changed significantly. In the last five years, I have slowed things down. Probably 90% of what I do now is walk or hike. I normally walk at least two miles four days a week. Once or twice a week I try to do something longer.


Q. How have you avoided injuries over the years?

Lou: I have been very lucky to have had very few injuries. I stop running if anything hurts with every step. I do something else like swim, bike or rest

Pete: I have been fortunate to have very few injuries, probably at least in part because of relatively low mileage and very little emphasis on speed. Doing most of my longer runs off pavement in recent years seems to have helped. The variations in terrain mean the feet do not necessarily strike the ground the same way with every step. That reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries.


Q. What has been your greatest achievement (athletic or otherwise)?

Lou: I would have to say running the 1985 Boston Marathon with my husband. It took me eight years to get to Boston and it was worth every step!

Pete: Finishing eleven 100-mile races starting at the age of 55 would rank up there. Finishing first in my age group in my final 50-mile race at age 70.


Q. What do you attribute your longevity in the sport of ultramarathon racing to?

Lou: Rest, recovery, cross training, and giving my body a break from training – mentally and physically.

Pete: Moderation is key. I have rarely exceeded 25 miles a week unless training for a 100 miler. Even then, it would only be for a few weeks or months.


Q. What advice do you have for other seniors who want to stay active and healthy?

Lou: Just get out and do it. Whatever your choice of exercise might be – walking, Zumba, aerobics – find an activity that makes you feel good and go do it.

Pete: Don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can do. Keep at it and it becomes a habit. I have occasional days where it is a struggle to get myself out the door, but when I’m finished my run or walk, I’m always happy I did it.


CareLink offers a variety of exercise and nutrition classes at senior centers across central Arkansas. To find out more, click here.  

Posted by Meredith Hale at 12:46 PM