October 29, 2005

Years Ahead of the Competition

Charles Stalzer has refined his strategy after running more than 80 marathons in nearly 40 years. At age 77, the Alexandria resident can't run as fast as he used to, but he knows what best enables him to complete each 26.2-mile race.
"Caffeine is terrific," Stalzer said. "So I plant Cokes here and there about every five miles or so in little special hiding places.
"Of course," he added half-jokingly, "the problem there is you have to remember where they are."
Unconventional sports drinks aside, Stalzer is one of 99 runners age 70 and older registered for tomorrow's Marine Corps Marathon. For many in this group, what began decades ago as a simple conditioning routine has evolved into a long-lasting, consuming passion for the competition, camaraderie and lifestyle associated with running marathons.
"It has just become part of my life," said Margaret Hagerty, 82, the oldest woman registered for the race. "I just love to compete, and I'm not quite ready to give it up."

No comments: