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The World’s Fastest (Old) Guy

PITTSBURGH– Charles Allie is 71 years old, and he is quickly.

Chances are, he is a much faster runner than you are– much faster, in fact, than you ever were. In 2015 in Spain he broke his own world record in his age group for the 400 meters by more than a second. That is basically a quarter-mile, one lap around a standard running track. He crossed the tape in 57.26 seconds.

A lot of individuals, even when they are at their fastest, never come close to running 400 meters in less than a minute. Allie has actually been breaking one minute considering that he was a kid. Now, he beats his competitors– the other fastest males worldwide who are his age– by 30 or 40 meters.

He set the world record in the 200 meters for the over-70 group last year, too. Still not impressed? At the World Masters Sports Championships, he dropped down an age department and won 2 relay gold medals with the 65- year-olds. In that division, he ran faster than practically everyone other than his great pal Expense Collins, who was a top American runner in the mid-1970 s.

” I’m just addicted to speed,” Allie stated at the cooking area table in his Pittsburgh home on a recent early morning. He had actually consumed oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.

Track and field is a sport of outliers. Sprinters weren’t supposed to be 6-foot-5. Then Usain Bolt of Jamaica rewrote the record books. Breaking two hours for the marathon was long considered difficult. Now Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is within 99 seconds of the mark. Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s world record in the heptathlon has represented 31 years.


Credit Kristian Thacker for The New York Times

Allie is blessed with exceptionally quick legs and a body that ages at a frighteningly slow rate. He stated his weight has actually not varied by more than 5 pounds in 25 years. He is seldom ill and has actually not had a major injury. He strained his Achilles’ tendon in2008 Right now, he said, he is dealing with achiness in his hip.

He is always training, however a little harder now. He desires to break the over-70 world record for the 100 meters, his weakest sprint event, this weekend at the masters nationwide championships in Ames, Iowa. Last year he ran 12.81, missing out on the mark by four-hundreths of a 2nd.

It is nearly difficult for somebody at any age to hold the world records for the 100, 200 and 400 concurrently. Some have held 2 of the 3. Bolt, for example, has the records in the 100 and the200 Michael Johnson held the record for the 200 and400 However people who can win at 100 meters usually run out of gas prior to the end of a 400, and quarter-milers do not have the raw speed needed to win at 100 meters.

” He’s going to get it,” said Collins, Allie’s colleague with the track club Houston Elite. “He just has to work a little more on his start, those first 10 lawns.”


Credit Kristian Thacker for The New York City Times

Collins, who is 3 years younger than Allie, explains him as “a once-in-a-generation professional athlete, type of like Usain Bolt.”

In 2013, Allie traveled to Monaco to accept the International Association of Athletics Federations’ award for male masters professional athlete of the year. Bolt was there, too, gathering the award for the senior athlete of the year.

” Being bestowed him, that was something,” Allie stated of Bolt.

Allie won city champions in high school in Pittsburgh. He participated in Hampton University in Virginia, where he was a couple of clicks below national and world class. He contended in the periodic track satisfy in his 20 s and 30 s as he taught industrial arts and coached intermediate school sports.

Then he turned 40 and began masters competition. He discovered that he had lost less speed than his contemporaries: The pack had returned to him, and even fallen behind.

Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, a leading researcher of workout and physiology, stated Allie’s efficiencies put him at the very edge of the aging curve, in which athletic efficiency declines at least 6 percent per decade. But given all the injuries sprinters are susceptible to, Allie’s crazy-slow fade is a lot more striking.

” When you are running seven- or eight-minute miles, you’re not exploding your legs the way these men do,” Joyner stated. “Clearly he stayed fit.”


Credit Kristian Thacker for The New York Times

Allie consumes healthfully and has actually run in the Penn Relays every year because he was40 If he has two hard exercises in a row, he will take a day off.

” I need my rest,” he said. He also visits a Y.M.C.A. for weight training a few afternoons a week, trying to fend off the unavoidable decline of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Allie’s exercises are shortly or complex. He runs a sluggish mile to warm up. Then there are a series of 50- lawn drills. Raising the knees high during one, ensuring to whack his behind with his heel on every step during another. After that he sits on the infield turf and laces up his track spikes. They are black Nikes, top of the line. It’s the important things he spends lavishly on.

” I like a shoe that makes me feel quick,” he said.

The spikes, which weigh simply a few ounces, are for his sprint intervals. He will carry out a series of periods that are a bit longer than his races. Preparing for a 400- meter race, he will duplicate 500- or 600- meter intervals. For the 200, the range is 250 or 300 meters. Considering that he is concentrated on the 100, he picked a recent early morning to do 150- meter sprints.


Credit Kristian Thacker for The New York Times

Running beside Allie can be a humbling experience. From the moment he starts, he simply goes away, sprinting off, as if on air. Septuagenarians are not supposed to go this quick.

Collins, his teammate and sometime rival, stated there are few people who can bring their speed through a whole race the way Allie does. In the quarter-mile, Allie’s time for his last 100 meters is almost precisely the exact same as his very first. It’s why his nickname is One Speed, Collins said. “He can be winning by 30 or 40 meters, and he still doesn’t decrease.”

Allie’s better half, Jackie– they got together in intermediate school– films his races and posts them online. “I might be more into it than he is,” she said.

That is a good thing since none of this comes cheap. Masters runners, even the very best on the planet, pay their own way, though U.S.A. Track & Field just recently started paying leading runners $400 for each occasion at the world champions and $400 for each gold medal. The optimum payout in each age classification is $1,000 Of course, Allie maxed out and collected $2,000 last year. They are offered uniforms and other swag now, too.

Allie likewise coaches at Nadia, a track club in Pittsburgh. He said working with children, some as young as 6, helped keep him young.

They call him Coach Friend. They travel to Philadelphia to enjoy him contend in the Penn Relays. If he misses an exercise in the early morning, he laces up his spikes and keeps up them. Like everybody else, they can’t believe how quick he is.

” You have to push yourself to keep up with him,” Kamili Wiley, 13, stated. “It’s crazy.”

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