No “Old Fool”: 88 Years Old and Still Running

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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In the sport, physical activity, and aging literature, much attention has been given to the importance of physical activity and sport involvement for the elderly. Most of the literature, however, has focused on the continuity of physical activity among older adults. The purpose of this study was to extend the understanding of older sport participants by conducting a case study of Max Springer, a male, White master runner (88 years old). We assumed that continuity in sport would represent a primary adaptive strategy for coping with the aging process. In addition to two in-depth interviews with Max, the authors interviewed various other “participants” regarding their perceptions of Max as an older runner. From deductive analysis of the interview material, the following themes emerged as figural to Max’s experience as an older runner: tradition of always being physically active, I’m not an athlete, being of senior age, meaning and philosophy of running, and significance of social support.

Roper is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Molnar is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Texas–Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999. Wrisberg is with the Dept. of Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2700.

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