Last weekend I visited my Mother in Weston-Super-Mare. As she lives near the sea front I generally have a run along the promenade or perhaps the beach. I have done this many times before and normally the other runners are friendly enough.
So on the Sunday morning run I ran past a runner who looked quite elderly. He was about my height and a little slimmer, grey hair. As I went passed him I noticed he was quite elderly.
I was thinking about him as I continued and couldn't help but wonder how old he was. Perhaps in his 70s? He certainly looked in pretty good shape and I couldn't get him out of my mind; curiosity about his age was bugging me. So I simply decided to go back and ask him.
I turned around, took a few strides back and then ran alongside him. We said "good morning" to each other and exchanged a little small talk. Then I decided I had to ask, doing my best to ask in a pleasant friendly way.
"Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?"
He looked a little wary and so I quickly followed it up by asking "I was wondering how old you are, I hope you don't mind me asking".
He explained he was 81. I said something about being seriously impressed with the hopes that I can still be running when I'm his age.
"Have you always been a runner?"
"No, not always. In fact I've always been a cyclist until I had an accident a few years ago".
He went onto explain he's had an accident with a pedestrian stepping out in front of him in town. He fell off his bike and shortly afterwards had a brain haemorrhage. This caused his wife to say he shouldn't cycle anymore. She was worried for him.
So instead he started walking around as a way of getting some exercise. This wasn't enough so before long he started jogging and then running with regularity. He certainly looked good.
I said "I hope I'm still running when I'm 81" and then I needed to peel off as I was nearly back to my Mother's road, just off the sea front.
Many times I've thought about him since. I really did admire him as he was very unassuming, modest and in such good shape. He was in exceptionally good condition and, to be honest, would put many a thirty year old to shame. Certainly hope I remain in good shape for the next thirty years!