Last weekend I ran the Marshall University Marathon in Huntington, West Virginia. Competing in marathons is a fun hobby that I’ve been doing for years. Running distances makes me feel good about myself, mentally and physically, and I also enjoy traveling and meeting interesting people.
In Huntington I was lucky enough to hear a talk by Mike Fremont of Cincinnati, Ohio. Believe it or not, Mike is 90 years old and is still running marathons! (to put this into perspective for those who may not know, a full running “marathon” is 26.2 miles, or 42.2 kilometers). Mike started running to deal with stress and depression after being widowed with three kids when he was 35. Then when he was 69 he contracted colon and rectal cancer. Facing a death sentence, he switched to an all-plant diet. His cancer eventually disappeared and hasn’t returned. And he hasn’t had a cold in 10 years (he takes no vitamin or mineral supplements). Though long-retired, Mike does a lot of volunteering, including starting a foundation to clean Ohio’s rivers.
Last August Mike set a world record in the half-marathon. At Huntington, he finished the full marathon in approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes, setting an American record (really, how many other 90-year-old marathoners are there?!). Congratulations Mike!
Mike attributes his longevity and athleticism to his vegan diet. There’s nothing wrong with golf or fishing or bridge. But Mike defies the idea that retirement means low or no-aerobic activities. He’s fit, mentally sharp, and happy. He’s a pretty inspiring guy. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to vegan stage. But after meeting Mike Fremont, I’ll be eating even more bean soup and leaf spinach!