Home > Case Studies > I Started Running in My 70s: A Case Study

I Started Running in My 70s: A Case Study

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 4 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Running Sport Healthy Diet Age Marathon

It is never too late to start running, as 74-year-old Ronnie Stevenson can testify. Ronnie, from South Yorkshire, celebrated his 70th birthday before taking up the sport, but is now a regular at 10-kilometre events.

“My grandson is a keen runner and it was his enthusiasm for running that made me decide to give it a go,” explained Ronnie, a retired quantity surveyor. “I played rugby union and cricket when I was younger and I’ve been very keen on my gardening for a lot of years and that has kept me quite fit. I’ve never smoked and don’t drink much, only the odd glass of wine or pint of beer.”

Initially, Ronnie’s family were not convinced it was a good idea for him to start running. “There were a few concerns,” admitted Ronnie. “Obviously you have to be sensible about it, but providing you follow a healthy diet and take some simple precautionary steps, age is really no barrier to running.”

Marathon Pensioner

“I remember reading about Dimitrion Yordanidis, who ran a marathon in the Athens in 1976 at the age of 98 – so I have plenty of running years ahead of me yet. In fact, it’s not too unusual to be running at my age these days. Soon after I started training, I joined a local club and met three other chaps who are all past retirement age. Now we regularly go on training runs together.”

Ronnie is not too strict with his training routine, because he believes running should always be fun and never feel like a chore. “I run the distance I want to at the pace I want to,” said Ronnie. “If I miss a training session one day, for whatever reason, I don’t try to make up for it the next day.”

That is not to say Ronnie is not competitive. Since 2008 he has competed in 10 kilometre events. “My philosophy is straightforward,” he said. “My first aim is to cover the distance and finish the race, my second is to do it in style and comfort and my third is to get a realistic time. If I can get a better time than my last race over the same distance then I’m happy.”

Off-Road Running

“I try to run three to four times a week,” said Ronnie. “I like to get out during the day and I run mainly off road, because the road can be quite punishing on my joints. I tend to be a fair-weather runner – it’s no fun in the rain – and although I might have the odd ache it’s worth it for the feeling of accomplishment I get after a run.”

As for the future, Ronnie intends to set new targets for himself. “Most people my age find their times are getting slower and slower, but because I didn’t start running until I was 70, my times are still improving, so I’d like to see how much I can improve.”

“I plan to run my first half marathon later in the year and that will be quite a big step up in distance for me from the 10K. People often ask whether or not I intend to run a marathon and it is something I might consider if I enjoy the half marathon and do not find it too much of a struggle.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Tammy
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, also trying to find out if Swansea groups still going? Thanks.
    7 October 2018
  • Rach
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I live in the Wolverhampton WV8 area and wondered if you have any activities running close to me please? Thank you Rachel.
    3 September 2018
  • Ali
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi Vic. Try Potters Trotters. They used to meet at Northwood years ago, but now meet at Staffs Uni on Tuesday and Thursday. They…
    30 August 2018
  • Cathryn
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there a beginners club in Torquay for women over 50
    31 July 2018
  • VikingMermaid
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there still a group in Dawlish (S Devon)? I used to run with WRN ca 10 yrs ago here (leader was Sarah, who was a real…
    26 June 2018
  • Vic
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, Any running clubs in stoke on trent? Northwood area? Trying to rehab and lose weight after slipped disc surgery last year.
    13 June 2018
  • Bigsare
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there. A group in Exeter still and when and where do they meet please
    2 May 2018
  • Verity
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi. I ran with WRN over 10 years ago and was registered with UKA. I am now trying to join another club. Can my link to WRN be…
    22 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Ha, ha - predictive text! Passing my message on - thanks
    7 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi there I’m looking to reconnect with the Swansea group but can’t find the details. Any chance of either padding my message on or…
    7 April 2018