Updated: Dec 16, 2019
What did you do on the Fourth of July?
While most Americans were enjoying a day off from work, grilling burgers, and watching TV, Fred Moore was racing up and down a mountain in Alaska.
For the 50th straight year!
Fred, 79, has become synonymous with the annual Mount Marathon event in Seward, a port town of 3,000 people about a four-hour drive south of Anchorage.
Meanwhile, across the country in Atlanta, 89-year-old Bill Thorn was participating in the 50th Annual Peachtree Road Race. Bill became the only person to run in each year the 10K event has existed.
Both men share a love for fitness and the outdoors that inspires their communities. And, with similar events around many holidays all across the country, they’re among millions of people young and old who enjoy the powerful social bonds found in fitness.
You don’t have to be as old as they are, live where they do, or even enjoy running to learn from their stories. Apply their inspiration to your gym workouts, yoga practices, golf game – whatever you enjoy and want to continue enjoying.
Fred, above, says he doesn’t do much exercising specifically for fitness. Instead, he relies on his lifestyle.
“It just happens when you live this way,” he says.
Fred and his wife have a farm that’s powered by firewood, which he cuts, carries, splits and loads himself.
He also runs and climbs hills several times a week, including steep, rough Mount Marathon, which is 4,124 feet high in the Kenai Mountains.
Decades ago, a reporter asked what compelled Fred to keep entering what’s known as the world’s most brutal 5K year after year.
“She couldn’t understand why someone that age would want to run up and down a mountain. I was in my 40s at the time. Another reporter asked me how do I keep in such good shape at my age. I was 71 then. I said, ‘If you take good care of yourself, this is what 71 is supposed to look like.’ ”
Here are Fred’s top three tips for fitness over 50.
“Stay active, year-round, and not just in one sport.” Fred runs outdoors, even in winter.“
Don’t overdo anything. People say, ‘I only have a month to get in shape for a race,’ and then they end up destroying themselves.”
“There’s a mindset, too. Just stop for a minute and think, ‘What I did yesterday – can I do that today? And what I did last week? And last month? Then just stretch it as far back as you can.”
Consistency Is Key
Bill Thorn says staying in shape is all about consistency. Running the Peachtree every year isn’t his only pattern of steady behavior: He works out every day. Period.
“If you say, ‘Seven days a week,’ you might be getting their attention,” he said in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But then when you say 365 days a year… whoa. People begin to think ‘What would that take for me to do that.’ ”
Over the decades, as the Peachtree grew to include 65,000 people each Independence Day, Bill endured a sprained ankle, a battle with cancer, and other physical challenges to keep running, running, running.
“I’m some kind of a driven person,” he said.
Indeed. Drive on, Sir!