By SCOTT WILSON
At the age of 95, Orville Rogers has run over 40,000 miles, and has no intention of slowing down.
“I started running … after reading Dr. [Kenneth H.] Cooper’s book ‘Aerobics.’ It inspired me to start running,” Rogers told ABC News. The book was published 45 years ago. Five years ago, at 90, Rogers decided to start running competitively.
“I had a trainer for six months before I started competing,” he said.
A Dallas native, Rogers has competed in track and field events on both the national and international level for the past five years. On July 11, he will be traveling to Oletha, Kan., to compete in the 2013 USA Masters Track & Field Championships, and will likely be the oldest participant at the meet.
“I don’t expect any competition in this age bracket,” said Rogers.
After setting six world records at a meet in Landover, Md., back in March, Rogers is confident that he will be able to produce similar results in both the 400 and 800 meter events.
Orville Rogers was a career pilot stationed in Texas through both World War II and the Korean War. After serving in the military, he flew for Braniff Airways for more than three decades. Rogers noted that over his long career as a pilot, he “logged about 38,000 hours of flying,” a milestone that he surpassed not too long ago with his “logged 40,000 miles of running.”
Rogers said that after reading Dr. Cooper’s “Aerobics,” he was “inspired to join the running revolution.” Since then, not much has been able to get in the way of his lifelong love of running.
Even after suffering a stroke, Rogers was not deterred from his record-setting goals.
“I had a minor stroke three years ago. My left hand and left leg were totally paralyzed. I was in rehabilitation for about two or three weeks and in outpatient for a couple of months,” he said.
His quick recovery, coupled with his spirited perseverance, enabled him to get back to competing. He’s been breaking and setting numerous records, and just this year he’s entered the 95 to 99 age category.
Speaking about Rogers, Cooper told ABC affiliate WFAA, “So many people don’t wear out, they rust out. And he’s proving the contrary. If you keep exercising, you can achieve phenomenal records.”