Now we all know that running mates are the best, right?
Running buddies are the ones who GET you.
Who cheer you on.
Who celebrate your success.
Running friends are also the only people awake at unearthly hours of the morning & free for a chat, and who never seem to care how sweaty or muddy you look.
So yes, running friends are pretty darn fantastic.
Now I would like to introduce you all to one of my cyber running mates – an 83 year old runner in the USA whom I have never met, other than through a Facebook group, but who is (I just know it!) an all-round lovely man.
I’m part of a FB group for senior runners – guilty as charged 😛 – and you could not wish for a nicer, more supportive bunch of people. We are spread all over the world, and people share their successes (and some of these “seniors” are AMAZINGLY fast runners and accomplished athletes) as well as their health concerns, and ask for advice. And everyone is nice and polite. And – yes – inspiring.
“Inspiring” is a much overused word, but I can tell you free, gratis and for nothing, that I always feel better after reading the group posts – everybody is out there, ignoring their age, and exercising and running and racing (well, pre-Covid, of course) and generally being so kind to everyone.
I’m not sure if Dickie Longo is the doyen of the group but he is a regular, chatty contributor who sounds SUCH a lovely man.
He runs every day, races every weekend, and sometimes he posts hilarious stories about winning the 80+ category AND the 75+ AND the 70+ categories!!
“I know some young runner doesn’t like it when I post my time in a race. I have very little to be personally proud of at my age.I do take pride in my race times. Good or bad.I am extremely proud of all my fellow runners. Here is this old runner’s time today.Ran 2 mile live in person race today.Time was 21:10. Little faster than 2 miler two weeks ago. Faster with age? No, just smaller group of racers. Won the 65+, 70+,75+, and my age group 80+. Was 4th male finisher. Small group. Award was small bottle of wine. Took it home to my wife. She loved it. You can’t drink a medal. Stay safe my friends. Love to all.“
Love it!! “You can’t drink a medal”!!
Dickie firmly believes in encouraging everyone he meets to run, and is generous to a fault.
He gives running shoes to random people he meets, he pays their fees to renter races if they can’t afford it, and he has a scholarship fund, to help with running expenses of the people he meets as he lives his busy life in Louisiana.
He’s also writing a book. (Of course he is!!).
He’s also done a couple of podcast. (Of course he has!!).
This is a typical, laconic Dickie Facebook post:
“Check the shirt. Wore this at grocery and young lady said she has seen me running all over neighbor. Asked how long have I been running in neighborhood. I said before you were born. About 51 years. She then asked how old was I. Told her 83. She said you sure look good at 83. Asked if she was a runner. Said too busy now. Said just takes 30 minutes to get in a short run. Told her to give it a try. Said she might. Checked out of grocery and went to car. Got pair of small shoes and waited at exit door and when she came out I gave her shoes. Figure this might obligate her to start running. Bribery. I said I will see you running in neighborhood soon. She just smiled. How running saves lives one pair of shoes at a time.“
I’ve figured out from his posts that this lovely man always has spare running shoes in the boot of his car, which he gives out to people – thereby cleverly not allowing them to “escape” from the promise of starting to run that he always seems to extract!
Dickie gently “bullies” anyone and everyone into running 🙂 He is a firm believer in the power of running to solve everyone’s problems.
“How running saves lives. Had a very pleasant surprise recently. In the past 2 months I have had 2 repair service calls and 2 installation calls. With each one I gave a pair of running shoes and my beginner’s running program. Think word might be getting out not to go on a service call to some old crazy runner’s house. He will make a runner out of you. Won’t pay the bill unless you promise to run. Not true. I received a text and picture from one of my service call technicians. Said he had followed my beginner’s running program. Picture was the program with each week’s schedule checked off as completed. From walking for a week, to a short running week, to 2 mile slow running, to 5k ready for a race. Said can’t wait to run 5k. This just really thrilled me. Mission accomplished.Hope something goes wrong here at the house so I can bribe another unsuspecting tech into becoming a runner. How running saves lives one tech and a pair of shoes st a time.“
Dickie, I LOVE your gung-ho approach:
“Hope something goes wrong here at the house so I can bribe another unsuspecting tech into becoming a runner.“
His daily anecdotes are always about saving lives through running, like this one below:
“How running saves lives. I got home yesterday from running my race. Found the horteculturist that my wife had called. He was looking at our grapefruit tree that looked sick. The tree usually produces about 400 grapefruit a year. Would give most to Second Harvest Food Bank. Since a freeze we had a few years ago the tree has only produced 50 or so and this year about 20. He looked at tree and gave his recommendation(expensive). Got talking to him and of course asked him if he was a runner. Said used to be and ran 5ks years ago. I find a lot of 30s to 40s used to run but not now. We were standing in my garage where my shoes are arranged by size on shelves. Asked his size and pick up pair and gave to him. Told him I am 83, run everyday and a race every weekend. Said if I can do that so could he. Said take these shoes and start back running. Said he would. Gave him my beginner running program. Said that is what he needed was to be inspired to get back running again. Told him I have faith in him.How running saves lives one tree surgeon and a pair of shoes at a time.”
I am very (cyber) fond of this dear man and his (clearly!!) long-suffering wife, who chides him if he complains. Like so:
Another live race, another poor performance by this old runner. Want to blame it on my two achy knees but as wife says just run with no excuses. Yes my dear.”
So, there you are – my lovely cyber-friend, Dickie Longo.
I leave you with his tongue-in-cheek self-analysis 🙂
“Someone said that no one will speak or talk to me fearing I will make a runner out of them. People don’t speak to me anyway so no big change. Some do that are my running friends thank you. I am like the street corner preacher handing out literature. Only difference is I hand out shoes and encouragement to run. Both doing God’s work only in a different context. This was Sunday’s sermon a day early. Stay safe my wonderful friends. Love to all.”
The world needs more lovely runners like Mr. Longo.