40 Is The New 30


In the world of running, 40 really is the new 30.

Deena Kastor Finishing In 1:11:57

Deena Kastor Finishing In 1:11:57

Last weekend, Deena Kastor ran 1:11:57 and won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon. While she just missed the American masters half marathon record, she did break the records for 10 miles and 20k en route.

Colleen de Reuck (on the right; Alana Hadley (second from the left)

Colleen de Reuck (on the right); Alana Hadley (second from the left)

Speaking of the American masters half marathon record, it is held by Colleen De Reuck who is still at it herself. Last November, at the age of 49, she ran a 2:39:22 marathon in Indianapolis for the win.

Gebrselassie Runs 1:00:41 At The Great North Run

Gebrselassie Runs 1:00:41 At The Great North Run

It’s not just the ladies who are aging well. Last year, Haile Gebrselassie ran a 1:00:41 half marathon.

Mike Wardian

Mike Wardian

Mike Wardian, the fast/fun/quirky/adventurous Virginian turns 40 on April 12 – just nine days before he runs the Boston Marathon. I have a hunch that 40-year-old Mike Wardian will be just as fast as 39-year-old Mike Wardian.

While it looks like you can maintain your speed as you cross forty, many ultra runners have found that you can actually get better!

Mike Morton

Mike Morton

In the fall of 2012, Mike Morton, 40, ran more than 172 miles in a 24-hour period. Yes, you read that correctly.

A few months ago, Joe Fejes, 48, outdueled Yiannis Kouros, 57, in Arizona. Joe ran more than 555 miles over the course of six days.

Marco Olmo Winning UTMB In 2007

Marco Olmo Winning UTMB In 2007

Last, and certainly not least, Marco Olmo won the UTMB in 2006 at the age of 58, and he repeated in 2007 at the age of 59. Finally, he was dethroned in 2008 by a young man named Kilian Jornet.

I still have awhile left before I hit 40, but I feel better about it knowing that my performance isn’t (necessarily) going to drop off a cliff.

How do you feel about aging and athletics?

Has your training/racing changed as you’ve gotten older?

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18 Responses to 40 Is The New 30

  1. I agree 40 is the new 30, at least in distance running. Lots of great athletes doing amazing things at that age.

  2. runwright says:

    That’s great motivation. Distance runners definitely seem to get better with age. Makes this whole getting older business a little easier to think about.

  3. emmelineruns says:

    I’m not even 30 yet but I always get excited about masters running, I feel like I can put less pressure on myself to make up for the 2-3 years of lost peak running time in my past and there are many many years to come to kick a lot of butt 😉

  4. bpangie says:

    I turned 30 last year, I have two kids, a house, blah blah. On both sides, the grandparents are passing and the parents are becoming grandparents, and lately seeming like an ‘adult’ has really been coming home – a sort of changing of the guard. While I might be aging and life is passing by, I’m comforted knowing that guys like Fejes and Olmo are out there ripping things to shreds.

  5. HOLLY SCHMOLLY! Mike Wardian is hot lol sorry! Couldn’t resist stating the obvious.I certainly hope to be as hot and fast at his age 😀 xoxo

  6. leerunsdistances says:

    Love, love, love this post dude!! Thanks for showing us old guys and girls some love ha! As far as aging and atheletics go, running is the only sport I know where one’s ablities and skills can actually improve with age. In other sports you are ready for the nursing home by 30-32. As far as training when you are older it doesn’t change too much. As I approach 40 the only thing that has changed training wise is my approach to rest days. My mileage has dropped of some but I put more intensity behind the miles I run and if feel I need an extra rest day I don’t hesitate to take it. Less miles for needed rest and recovery is the key to longevity. It also allows you to give your best efforts when it counts. You also learn to embrace taper weeks.

  7. Angie says:

    This is a great post. I love seeing these master runners still running fast! As a runner in my mid forties (gulp, it sounds so old when you write it down) I’ve been fortunate to have been getting faster, however, I don’t know if that’s going to last, we’ll see. I am very cautious about injury now and I don’t push through pain like I used to. I might also just be getting smarter in terms of my training (I cross-train way more and definitely embrace the rest day).

  8. piratebobcat says:

    As I creep up on 40, I’m glad to hear there’s still hope! Haha! Honestly, as I get smarter about running, I get faster each year.

  9. It seems like 40 is the sweet spot for endurance sports.

    • Jason says:

      I tend to agree – somewhere between 35 and 45. There are still some folks doing quite well who are much older than that though… it’s pretty great!

  10. I love that so many incredible athletes are doing well (or better!) as they age. It’s comforting to know that being 26 doesn’t mean my ‘prime’ is gone and that things can improve from here regardless of getting older. No I am not old, but hey- I do think about the fact that one day… I won’t be as fast as I am now. Nice knowing that that decline doesn’t have to be anytime soon.

  11. This is an awesome post! To me, the most inspirational runners are those who run well into their 70s, and 80s, and still love what they do. I have a theory about why a lot of runners do so well in endurance races, despite getting older. I think it’s because they acquired more mental stamina over the years. While physical fitness fades with time, I don’t think it works the same way with the mental side of things.

  12. Considering I’ve only been running off and on 4 years my training hasn’t changed a lot due to aging…it has changed a lot because of proper training. Honestly I think that layers and layers of consistency is what makes running. To me it makes sense that the best runners are around 30-40.

  13. Pingback: RE2PECT. | Must Love Jogs

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