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99-Year-Old Sprinter Will Not Go Gently Into The Good Night

A USA Track and Field Masters' race pitted a 99-year-old against a 92-year-old because that's the whole point of life.

by Patrick Hruby
Mar 3 2017, 3:55pm

We're all gonna die someday. You, me, LeBron James, Peter Thiel despite any possible vampiric blood transfusions, that dog in New York City who hugs random strangers on the street. Every last one of us is doomed, booked on a non-refundable return ticket to nothingness, perpetually another second closer to over and out. The time we have—right here, right now—is everything we'll ever get.

Which brings me to Orville Rogers and Dixon Hemphill. Rogers is 99 years old; Hemphill, 92. Both men have lived through the Great Depression, a World War, and seven seasons of HBO's Arli$; both are far closer to the end than the beginning. They have every right and every reason to pour a whiskey, put on some Law & Order reruns, leave the stress and striving and pursuit of happiness to younger people—like, say, Charlie Rose—and call it a well-deserved day.

Except no. Our heroes are not going gently into that good night, frittering and wasting their hours in an offhand way. They are lining up and raging forward over 60 all-in meters at the USA Track & Field Masters Indoor Championships held last month in Indianapolis.

They say life is a marathon, not a sprint. This is true. But within that long race, every day is an opportunity to see just how fast you can go. Run while you still can.