Great Physical Achievements for Seniors over 70 Part 1

About a number of senior citizens who have achieved great acts of physical strength and endurance.



At 70, Parsons reluctantly retired from the Canadian Oldtimers' Hockey Association, an organization of 233 teams which holds international tournaments. In the year before his retirement, Parsons, a resident of Omemee, Ontario, played 117 games, but he admits that there comes a time whe one must step aside for the youngsters--the 40-to 60-year-olds.


Born in Manitoba, Canada, where temperatures sometimes plummet to 55 deg. below, Mavis had a history of illnesses--whooping cough, tuberculosis, and chronic chest colds, which often developed into pneumonia.

Then, at 62, Mavis discovered running, and she hasn't stopped since. "After I started running, I never had another cold. I've been sick once in nine years. I had a real bad type of flu. It lasted three hours."

She ran her first marathon at 70, along the Avenue of the Giants in northern California's Humboldt Redwood State Park, and won a trophy for oldest finisher. Six months later she finished the Honolulu Marathon in 4 hr. 45 min. 2 sec., a 19-min. improvement over her first race. She has run two marathons since then, celebrating her 71st birthday with the last one--26 mi. 385 yd. in 5 hr. 10 min. 8 sec.


At 72, A. J. Puglizevich of Merced, Calif., added another medal to his burgeoning collection by winning the 1980 Senior Olympics physique contest for his age group. He also holds 11 world records in the senior division of the National AAU Masters Decathlon Championships.

Most mornings about 5:30, Pug can be found running laps at the Merced College track. He's been a firm believer in exercise since the age of 13. Anemic and prone to fainting spells, Pug was diagnosed as having a heart condition. He overheard the doctor tell his mother, "Take him out of school. Let him enjoy life. He's only got about a year to live." Not willing to accept his fate, Pug persuaded his parents to keep him in school and he sent away for body-building equipment. That was the beginning of a lifelong interest in exercise and health.

Even though he has experienced severe hip and knee problems at several times in his life, Puglizevich had always overcome his handicaps. His optimistic philosophy: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."


At 75, "Foxy Grandpa" Ed Delano decided to go all the way from his home in Davis, Calif., to Worcester, Mass., for the 50th reunion of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His colleagues might have been concerned that the plane trip would be too tiring for him, but Delano wasn't--because when Foxy Grandpa flies, it's on a bicycle. Delano made the 3,100-mi. journey in 33 1/2 days.


This former heavy-equipment mechanic has, at 75, become a veteran roller skater. He's even come up with a new look in skates--jogging shoes mounted on polyurethane wheels. He skates everywhere he can in his hometown of Lawrence, Kans. "Folks who don't know how to roller-skate," says Stolfus, "don't know what they're missing."

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