World War II veteran and age-group world record holder runner Orville Rogers celebrated his 100th birthday precisely the way he wanted to: By running in a 100-mile relay around White Rock Lake in Dallas in late November with beloved family and friends.
Each person in the group wore a blue t-shirt with Rogers’ face on it, and took on a distance between one and nine miles per leg. Rogers joined in at the end to complete the 100th mile in 22 minutes, according to Sports Day.
“I never would’ve thought I’d live long enough to have 32 people, 34 people [there],” the father, grandfather and great-grandfather told ABC affiliate WFAA. “How wonderful it is and how great it is to be alive.”
World War II veteran, Orville Rogers, celebrated his 100 birthday by running 100 cumulative miles with his extended family. Rogers says faith and fitness are two very important things in life.https://t.co/yGNJsX2ZEb pic.twitter.com/Yq71XHZsWQ
— KRDO NewsChannel 13 (@KRDONC13) December 1, 2017
Rogers was a bomber pilot who flew a B-36 on secret missions during the Korean Conflict. Then he went on to become a commercial pilot. He started running at 50 years old, and holds 13 age-group world records in everything from the 60m to the 3,000m. He’s also a marathoner and reports that he has logged more than 43,500 miles in his lifetime.
“I love the thrill of preparation and training,” he told Runner’s World in February. “When I compete, I am not just running against the people out on the track at that moment, I am running against everyone who has run the event before me. That is gratifying to me.”
Following the big birthday run, Rogers and his family gathered for cake and presents.
If you think he’s slowing down now that he has reached triple digits, think again. Rogers is looking forward to competing in a new age group at the 2018 USATF Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in March in Landover, Maryland.
So, what’s his secret to running strong at 100? He embraces an active lifestyle and still runs three days per week.
“It contributes to the enjoyment of life and the quality of life that you’re able to achieve,” Rogers said about exercising. “I would hate to be bed-ridden in my last years, not being able to be up and active and enjoying my family and enjoying life.”
Keep flying, Orville Rogers.
Rogers has written a book called “The Running Man,” which is available for purchase and details his life as a pilot and runner.