There’s Yankees v. Red Sox, Ali v. Frazier, and Carolina v. Duke. Add Orville Rogers, 99, and Dixon Hemphill, 92, to that list of great rivalries.
The two sprinters (yes, sprinters) competed against each other in last weekend’s Masters Indoor Track Championships.
Even though he’s seven years older, Rogers edged out Hemphill by 0.05 seconds in the 60-meter race.
“I started years ago visualizing success in whatever race I participate in,” Rogers told Runner’s World. “That’s still my objective: I train hard and I visualize crossing the finish line out in front. And I work at it pretty consistently. It’s very rewarding to be able to accomplish what you set out to do.”
Rogers is a World War II veteran and former pilot who began running at 50 years old. He’s had heart bypass surgery and even had a stroke a few years ago.
“To this day, Lee, I’m the only man in the world who’s run a 10-minute mile after age 90,” he told Lee Cowan of CBS News. “And I’m the only man in the world who has run a 15-minute mile after age 95. I’m bragging, aren’t I?”
Hemphill is a former businessman from Virgina, who was a pole vaulter in college and the took up running in his 40’s. He had to take a short break from the sport when at 74 years old, he was hit by a car while training on his bike for a triathlon. He spent 41 nights in the hospital with a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, but still resumed running once he was healed.
Rogers and Hemphill competed against one another for the first time four years ago. Rogers has won each of their four meetings in the 60-meter dash. However, Hemphill excels at the longer distances. He beats Rogers in the 200, 400, 800, and 1600 meter races.
Their next scheduled duel? During July’s USATF Masters Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Until then, they will hammer out more miles in training, and live more action-packed lives than most people half their age.