Breaking the shackles of convention
July 04, 2014 by Kesh Patel
On Thursday 19th June 2014, 94-year old Dr Charles Eugster, widely regarded as the world’s fitness OAP, teamed up with VIVOBAREFOOT for a very special running coaching session. Charles was put through his paces at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Enfield, by Master Coaches Kesh Patel and Mark Esteban, who were joined by resident athletic coaches, Peter Scott and Ayo Falola. And there was also a special surprise in store, when former World Youth champion and British Athletics Womens Indoor 60m champion, Asha Philip, took a few minutes out of her training session to talk to Charles.
As a strong advocate of VIVOBAREFOOT’s philosophy, education and footwear, this coaching session was part of Charles’s training for the British Masters Athletics Federation Championships in August, where he intends to establish British records in the 100m and 200m.
Charles is an evangelist for exercise in old age and is convinced that physical training in advanced years is the key to longevity and a dramatically enhanced lifestyle in later life. He has discovered that a unique combination of progressive resistance exercises, endurance training and diet has increased his strength, coordination, well-being and even libido, in advanced age.
Charles says, "Muscle and bone mass can be increased and the elasticity of blood vessels preserved. Instead of loss of bone and muscle, loss of self worth and degeneration, old age can be one of the most enjoyable, pleasurable, exciting, and wonderful period of life. Even a beautiful body can be attained. All that is required is consistency and a love of movement."
Although he has recently won the World Strenflex Title yet again, and won another 3 gold medals at the World Masters Rowing Regatta - Charles is a relative newcomer to running. “I’ve always competed - competition is good for the body and the mind,” says the 34-time World Masters Rowing Championship Gold medallist and 3-time World Strenflex Champion, “But I have never run or sprinted in my life. Life is about challenges, and you must always attempt something new.”
The British Masters 100m record for the 90 year age group stands at 19.9 seconds set in 1977, and 200m at 76.8 seconds set in 1979. There are no British records for competitors aged 95 or over which is the age he will be when he takes to the track on the 9th and 10th of August at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. By this point, the 95 year old will have completed 4 months of intensive training, guided by the VIVOBAREFOOT team, in what he considers his biggest sporting challenge yet.
He says, “It’s about time these records were beaten. There are more and more of us nonagenarians. We need to prove that we are still useful to society and not just a drain on resources. I want to set an example for others to follow and inspire the next generation of older people.”
Viva La Revolution Charles!!