This Monday was Respect for the Aged Day here in Japan, so we’re celebrating by bringing you this story about an old dude who deserves much respect: 102-year-old sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki. Not only is this centenarian still very much alive and kicking, he’s breaking world records in the 100-meter dash and dreaming of a race with the world’s fastest man.
Miyazaki, a native of Shizuoka, wasn’t always into running, although he did track and field when he was young. He survived tuberculosis at 20, and then worked for 32 years in an agricultural co-operative. After retiring, he and his wife moved in with their eldest daughter (now 72) in Kyoto. He originally took up the game of go as a hobby, but after many of his fellow players had passed on, he saw a TV program about a woman in her 90s competing in shotput.
He says, “When I saw that, I thought, ‘This is something you can enjoy even if you are alone.’” At the age of 92, he started training a few times a week.
His routine only takes about an hour. He gets up at 7:30, puts on a backpack with a 3kg weight in it and goes to a park about a half kilometer away. There he runs 100-meter dashes until his heart rate reaches 120 beats a minute. After resting for 10 minutes, he throws the weight around for a while and returns home by 8:30 a.m.
This training regimen has helped him to score a world record in the 100-meters for runners over 100 at 29.83 seconds. Of course, there might not be a whole lot of competition in that bracket. At a recent event in Kyoto, he ran in the over-90s race… by himself.
Miyazaki is now looking beyond his own age group for a worthy competitor. At the Kyoto event, he said it’s his dream to race against Usain Bolt. You go, Grandpa.