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99-Year-Old Runner Beats 92-Year-Old Rival In Race

| by Michael Allen

In a stunning photo finish, 99-year-old Orville Rogers defeated 92-year-old Dixon Hemphill in a 60-meter race on Feb. 18 at the USATF Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Hemphill, who sports a replacement hip, told Runner's World: "I think had I leaned a little bit, I would have won."

Hemphill, who led for 55 meters, only lost by five-hundredths of a second (18.05) when Rogers inched ahead (18.00).

"I took off, and I was a little bit ahead so I thought, 'This is going well,'" Hemphill recalled.

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Rogers, who trains up to three times a week at a gym, shared the secret of his success:

I started years ago visualizing success in whatever race I participate in. 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.

The two men have raced before; Rogers has beaten Hemphill in the 60-meter-dash four years in a row, but Hemphill bested Rogers in their recent 200, 400, 800, and 1600 races.

"I guess he has the speed and I have the distance," Hemphill added.

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Rogers, who has set age-group world records in 13 events, started running when he turned 50 years old: "I love the thrill of preparation and training. 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."

Hemphill started running in his his 40s: "I compete at these events for the joy of running and the competition, and then the comradeship."

Rogers and Hemphill will have a rematch at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in July.

"I think he has tried to gain a little information through my book and through our visits together," Rogers said after completing a 2.5-mile run.

"I know I can improve for the future," Hemphill stated. "There is training that I am not doing that I should."

Another man in his 90s, Vern, aka "Verny Boy," went viral in a video that was posted to YouTube on Feb. 26, notes RT.com.

Vern celebrated his 90th birthday with an impressive set of 24 pull-ups at a gym in Haines City, Florida.

Vern's son, who posted the video, added a caption with some background information:

We go to the gym regularly and he loves to do pullups! I think he does pretty good considering he broke both elbows as a kid.

For those who wonder how he broke his elbows, he was messing around with another guy much bigger, both had ahold of a broom stick with both hands, the other guy slammed his elbows down into the pavement. It was just fooling around, but it limits now some of his range of motion -- you know, with pain and all that.

Sources: Runner's World, RT.com / Photo credit: Tony Atkin/Geograph.org

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