101-year-old Man Completes Marathon

On Monday (April 13) Buster Martin completed the London marathon in a time of approximately ten hours. What made this remarkable was his age. Martin claims to be 101-years-old. If true, this would make him the oldest person ever to complete a marthon. (The former record holder was 98-year-old Dimitrion Yordanidies who completed the Athens marathon in 1976 with a time of 7.5 hours.) But Martin's age has been called into question.

Martin says he was born on September 1, 1906. The British National Health Service, however, says he previously told them he was born in 1913, which would make him a mere 94.

The problem is that Martin has no birth certificate because he was born in France and later moved to a British orphanage. So there's no way to verify his exact age. Guinness World Records has refused to list him as the new record holder, insisting they need a birth certificate.

Perhaps Martin actually comes from Vilcabamba, the Ecuadorian town of very old people. As Vilcabamba demonstrated, the phenomenon of age exaggeration is well known to anthropologists. The problem is that it's very tempting for very old people to add a few more years onto their age, since it's an easy way to get more attention. So a lot of people who are getting close to 100 decide to bump up their age to make themselves older than 100.

Also running in the marathon were a man who dribbled a basketball the entire way, a girl on 4ft stilts, an 80-year-old woman, a blind man, and a team of six Masai warriors who sang traditional songs as they ran in shoes made from tires.


Posted on Tue Apr 15, 2008


You missed my favorite runner, Lloyd Scott!
I'm still wondering, did he finish by Friday?
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  11:56 PM
Is it me, or does the guy look like the recent pictures of Fidel Castro?
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  01:02 AM
There's a good little diary from the Masai here http://sport.guardian.co.uk/athletics/story/0,,2273114,00.html
Posted by mr royale  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  02:01 AM
I thought the gentleman looked familiar. Buster Martin is a member of the rock band the Zimmers, and the band recently celebrated his 101st birthday, so somebody has some dates wrong. Regardless, it's a remarkable achievement at any age, especially for someone over 90. I couldn't do it!
Posted by Johnny  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  07:57 AM
Man, if that old guy can truly run a marathon, he can lie his old ass off about his age, and I wouldn't worry about it. Actually, anybody who runs a marathon earns a certain level of endearing suspension of facts regarding their background in my book. That's a hell of a long distance. I ride 16 miles round trip to and from work on my bicycle, and it wears me down some nights. Running 26 miles, what they say goes. That goes double for the tire-shod Masai runners. Anybody who lets their rubbers meet the road is okay with me.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  03:25 PM
A ten-hour marathon can't honestly be considered a run, can it? 2.6 mph is slower than average walking speed. Sure it's impressive for someone 90+, but a normal healthy adult could walk at all day.
Posted by Luke  on  Thu Apr 17, 2008  at  06:16 AM
Well, yeah, and of course there are those who walk marathons, and use wheelchairs in marathons. I don't know how old Buster really is, but I think it's cool that at 90+, he is able to do that. There was an American man some years ago, Larry Lewis, a waiter at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, who lived to 105. He was still RUNNING marathons until shortly before his death, which was from cancer, as I recall.
Posted by Johnny  on  Thu Apr 17, 2008  at  06:38 AM
The marathon brings out all kinds of strange people..

Posted by Patrick  on  Fri Apr 18, 2008  at  11:58 AM
Must have been at the beginning of spring; all the robins around. The one that really brings out the....um....more creative among us is the Bay to Breakers race in California each year. THAT is a one-of-a-kind event!
Posted by Johnny  on  Fri Apr 18, 2008  at  03:53 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.